Komm Susser Tod 2 3 5

[20:11] <Minaplo> [The window of their room gave them a good view of the Singapore skyline.-
[20:13] <Minaplo> [Singapore had been fortunate during Second Impact, at least compared to the shattered metropoli of Perth, Jakarta or Chennai. Shielded on all sides by bigger landmasses and benefitting from mountainous terrain for the people to flee to in times of trouble, when the waves hit the damage was surprisingly limited, and the restoration was able to finish quickly. It was for that reason that Singapore was one of the few modern coastal cities to not have the '-2' in its name.-
[20:13] <Minaplo> [Today, the sky was cloudy. Very cloudy; a heavy thick blanket of white-grey covered the sky completely, not letting an inch of blue in.-
[20:16] <Minaplo> [They'd gotten up early at 0700, with Rei quickly showering and dressing, wearing the green headscarf she'd bought last night. Her equipment was laid out carefully on her bed, and she'd gone through to make sure everything was in place.-
[20:16] <Minaplo> ["Alright, Raffy. When you're ready, we should review our objectives, just like Al taught me to."]
[20:26] * Raphael glances up at her with a faint smile, still sipping on the glass of water he'd used to down his tracking tablet as he examines one of the disguised radios. He's dressed in smart-casual western style - long black pants and a matching, partially buttoned jacket over a dark grey shirt - with a backpack by his side. "Of course."
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Our primary drive should be to get a feel for the city's feel, see if unusual stuff has been happening." Said Rei firmly. Behind her, a pen wrote diligently away on a notepad. "Our first objective is to investigate local crimes, particularly murders or unexplained disappearances. Accomplishing this objective means we should speak to the police, or speak to someone who speaks to the police, or maybe even speak to someone who speaks to someone who speaks to the police, but that's third-hand knowledge, which we all know is very unreliable." She said seriously. "Speaking to members of the local media should also be on our objective list. To that end, we need to figure out who's who when it comes to the media in Singapore."]
[21:04] <Raphael> "We don't want to pick anyone too high profile, remember." Raphael says. "Plenty of people lower on the food chain should have what we need to know; in fact, someone closer to the street would be better."
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["Right. Some gumshoe with a piece of paper in his hat, drinking swigs of whiskey in between hunting scoops, right, Raffy?"]
[21:12] <Raphael> "… Sure."
[21:13] <Minaplo> [Rei fistpumped.-
[21:13] <Minaplo> ["Ok. Is there anything else we should think about?"]
[21:24] <Raphael> "The Alves group will have a reputation, especially among police. Any major member being murdered will likely be the subject of a higher degree of scrutiny, and we can use that to narrow down our search."
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["Hm, that's a good idea. I wonder if the Alves group would be obvious enough to use a lot of Portuguese…"]
[21:29] * Raphael shakes his head slightly. "Maybe among the lower rungs of the organization, but anyone with an ounce of sense would know better. The Alves Group has a reputation for being smarter than most."
[21:29] <Raphael> "Still, worth keeping in mind."
[21:31] <Minaplo> ["Hm, okay. Hm. Does this mean we should see if the police have made any weapon smuggling raids recently?"]#
[21:36] <Raphael> "I'd say so. We certainly lose nothing from trying." Raphael says with a small nod of approval.
[21:38] <Minaplo> [She nodded.-
[21:38] <Minaplo> ["Also, we need to buy umbrellas." She said seriously.]
[21:39] <Raphael> "Of course." Raphael deadpans.
[21:41] <Minaplo> ["And we need to keep an eye out for souvenirs too." Said Rei.]
[21:41] <Raphael> "It's not a vacation, Rei."
[21:43] <Minaplo> ["I know that." She said, folding her arms. "It's just part of our cover as tourists! If we ask lots of stupid questions and buy lots of stuff, people will underestimate us and might let slip something they wouldn't around -important- people."]
[21:44] * Raphael stares at her. It is the stare of a disapproving parent.
[21:47] <Minaplo> [Rei simply stares back with those big, sincere, honest, innocent eyes.]
[21:47] <Raphael> "Uh huh."
[22:05] <Minaplo> [She beamed.-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Ok. Where do we want to go first, and how do we want to get there?"]
[22:13] <Raphael> "I'd say we'll do better starting with the police. We'll need to figure out a good way to approach them, but we already know where to find them and they can give us an idea of the lay of the land." Raphael said. "And I'd say we're better off using taxis for transport."
[22:14] <Minaplo> ["Hm, ok."]
[22:15] <Raphael> "You had other thoughts?"
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["No, that sounds good to me."]
[22:17] <Raphael> "Alright." He shoulders his backpack and stands, stretching his arms. "Ready to go?"
[22:20] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh!"-
[22:31] <Minaplo> [They headed out into the lobby- there was no need to ring ahead for a taxi, as six empty ones sat outside the hotel as is.-
[22:32] <Minaplo> ["Hey, my friends." Said Ajit, the tailor, standing out the front of his store. "Looks like it might rain today. You need umbrellas?" He held up two umbrellas- one green, the other grey. "Only four dollars each."]
[22:40] <Raphael> Raphael had already spared the salesman a few surreptitious glances since arriving in the lobby - perhaps recalling the blowout from the night before - so at least the attention does not catch him off guard. He looks Rei's way for a moment, nodding a little as he fishes for his wallet and pulls out a few bills. "Thank you."
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["All yours." Said Ajit. "Oh, did you remember to bring your hotel key with you? You know, some people leave them behind, they can't get back in… Best to check now rather than later."]
[22:48] <Raphael> "Of course, of course." Raphael smiles, patting down the pockets of his pants. He nods at the faint jangle. "Everything's in order. Enjoy your day, Mr. Darzi."
[22:52] <Minaplo> ["And also you."-
[22:53] <Minaplo> [They stepped out of the hotel. The air was humid and warm- rain would be coming any second now, it felt like.-
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["Mr. Darzi is a nice man." Said Rei happily.]
[23:00] <Raphael> "He sure is." Raphael says, already in the process of moving his keys to a different, more difficult to access pocket as he ignores the taxis entirely and begins walking a ways down the street. Within a few buildings he was able to find an alleyway suitably shadowed by the midmorning sun to duck into.
[23:05] <Minaplo> [Already umbrella-clad, Raphael is ignored by a streetside umbrella vendor.-
[23:07] <Minaplo> [Rei, curious, followed him into his alleyway. "What's wrong, Raffy?']
#6[23:11] * Raphael … stops at the mouth of the alleyway, looking back towards the streetside vendor. A slight frown creases his brow for a moment, followed a split-second later by a smile. "Nevermind, Rei. Just being careful."
[23:12] <Minaplo> ["Hm, ok." She gives him a warm smile in return.]
[23:13] <Raphael> A moment later they were on their way back towards the taxis… although Raphael was sure to pick on out of sight of the hotel foyer.
[23:16] <Minaplo> [Their taxi driver is a dour, stout Indian. He has careful, considerate eyes. "Morning. Where to?"]
[23:30] <Minaplo> [Raphael gives him directions, and the driver takes off. He is a slow and steady driver, and he follows all the rules and gives way to other cars and never goes above 5km below the speed limit.-
[23:31] <Minaplo> [It is like being on a Venetian gondola in the middle of the Oxford-Cambridge yacht race.-
[23:32] <Minaplo> [He stops at a set of traffic lights. "Look at all other drivers." He says disdainfully. "Rush rush rush all the time. They give the city bad reputation, everyone come here and think we have terrible traffic." He shook his head. "And look at this one in front. What is this, eh? A bike rider! Bike riders think they own the roads, little tightie-whitie men on their little bikes, oh…"]
[23:40] * Raphael is peering warily out at the surrounding cars, although he keeps stopping to shoot amused glances at a giggling Rei. "It takes a certain sort of courage to ride a bike in this traffic, I think."
[23:41] <Minaplo> [Rei's giggling is silent and breathless, and she hides it only by shielding her face with a fold-out map.-
[23:44] <Minaplo> ["Foolishness more like it. You know, it very irresponsible. It like they know nothing about the war. We should be being careful now, not reckless like this. Always 'business-as-usual' for these people…"-
[23:46] <Minaplo> [Some time later they come to a stop outside of a tall, modern building with large glass front windows. A sign on a wall outside of the building says 'Jurong District Police Headquarters'. The building and sign both are embossed with the coat of arms of Singapore and the emblem of the Singapore Police.]
[23:52] * Raphael pays quickly and steps out onto the sidewalk, holding the door open for Rei as he examines the police station.
[00:01] <Minaplo> [The interior is clean, orderly and large. The ground around the door is tiled white, and eventually fades into a navy blue carpet six metres in. Four rows of pot plants sit in the main room, each flanked on their long sides by seating, some occupied by people waiting to speak to someone on one of the counters, of which there are four- each large, wooden, solid constructs, with metal frames connecting them to the roof, in which bulletproof barriers wait, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. The walls are white plaster, decorated with framed pictures of former police officers and the like. Large, powerful air conditioning vents sit on the roof, each pumping pleasantly cool air into the room. There aren't many people here; armed police officers as well as plain clothes detectives are coming and going of course, and the desks are manned, and there are maybe seven or eight civilians sitting on the chairs, most looking somewhat nervous. There are passages beyond the counters that lead deeper into the building, but each passage is guarded by a gate resembling those at train stations, each one with an electronic card sensor and a metal detector framing it. It is down these paths, presumably, that the elevators upwards are based, although there's no guarantee of that.]
[20:48] <Raphael> "Act distressed," Raphael murmurs to Rei just before they enter the foyer proper, placing an arm around her shoulder. "Think about how much you miss the Major, anything you need to do."
[20:50] <Minaplo> [Rei nodded. She leaned her head against Raphael's shoulder. Her own shoulders drop, any hint of a smile leaves her face and, even though there are glasses covering her eyes, he can already see what looks like a few tears starting to form.]
[20:54] <Raphael> "Follow my lead, and if we run into roadblocks you're the one they'll sympathise with." Raphael says gently, squeezing her shoulders as he leads them towards the reception desk, his own face set into a grim frown.
[21:03] <Minaplo> [Their desk's receptionist is a uniformed woman, maybe in her early 30s, East Asian, with short cropped hair and brown eyes. As her gaze falls on Raphael and Rei, her expression falls into a grim sort of hardness- the hardness of expectation. "May I help you? What's wrong?"]
[21:11] <Raphael> "Look, yeah. Uh, Officer…" He slows down just long enough to make a quick, obvious glance down at the woman's nametag before rushing on, "Officer Amoe. We're looking for our friend, and we were -really- hoping you could help."
[21:12] <Minaplo> ["Chang." She corrects. "What seems to be the problem?"]
[21:20] <Raphael> "Chang. Sorry, sorry." Raphael shakes his head and takes a deep breath. When he starts again his voice is slowler and more even. "His name's Levin Marx. The three of us are here on vacation, but the last time we saw Levin he was leaving a bar with some local girl. That was the night before last. We've checked the hospitals, but…"
[21:21] <Minaplo> ["You want to file a missing persons report?"]
[21:46] <Raphael> "Sure, yeah. We just want to know he's not dead in a ditch or something. The girl he was with was acting really shifty, y'know? I didn't like her."
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh." Chang reaches under her desk, placing a collection of files in front of Raphael. The files include fields for his name, residence/temporary residence, country of origin, etc etc. "Don't suppose you had any details? We could run her through the system if it'll help your nerves."]
[21:54] * Raphael gives Chang a grateful look. "Would you? Not that we know much. Just her name. It was…" A glance to Rei. "Evelyn?"
[21:54] <Minaplo> ["E-Evelyn Lee." She mumbled, reaching up with a hand to wipe tears away from beneath her sunglasses.-
[21:55] <Minaplo> ["Evelyn Lee. You didn't have any other details? Age? Height? Is there anything else you can give us?"]
[22:06] <Raphael> "Uh. Maybe a little older than us, and a little shorter than I am. Black hair. Some piercings in her nose, I think? She looked pretty normal…"
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh." She pushed the files towards him. "Give me a moment." She turned around, picking up a phone lying on her desk. She hit a single button and began to speak into it in Cantonese.]
[22:17] * Raphael picks up a pen and begins to write, changing just enough from Sera's cover story to make it unlikely that they'd connect the two.
[22:24] <Minaplo> [After a few minutes, Chang nods and sets down the phone. "It looks as though they've found some potential matches. They want you to do a visual ID." She said.]
[22:29] <Raphael> By this point Raphael would be a good way through the papers, but he's quick to look up. "Of course, Officer."
[22:31] <Minaplo> ["You will have to pass through the security checkpoint," she said, gesturing to the gate and metal detector, "So please declare any metal objects or other contraband."]
[22:36] <Raphael> "Sure," Raphael nods, before turning away and handing his bag to a still-sniffling Rei. He gives her a close look and hugs her. "Why don't you go outside and get some fresh air? I'll sort this out. Everything's gonna be ok."
[22:37] <Minaplo> ["A-Are you sure?" She asks, taking the bag with both of her hands.]
[22:39] <Raphael> "Yeah, I'm sure. Levin's an idiot, but we'll work it out."
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["O-Okay." She says, pulling away from him slowly and heading off out of the door, the bag in her hands.-
[22:46] <Minaplo> [A few minutes later, a man appears at the end of the hall behind the checkpoint- he walks up to the desk, giving Raphael a smile. He's about 5'9", maybe late 30s, with neat short black hair and grey eyes. He's wearing a well-made suit with a blue striped tie- the badge of the Singapore Police Force is pinned to his lapel. "You're the man who's after an Evelyn Lee?"]
[22:51] * Raphael double-checking his pockets for metal items: His belt, wallet and a set of keys have all been removed. As the new arrival appears he nods once, and seems ready to offer his hand across the desk before he reconsiders.. "That's right, sir. Edmond Demers."
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["Nice to meet you." He says. "Detective Lim Kwan Hsien, Trafficking." He takes out an ID card and swipes it through the gate scanner. "Do you mind stepping into the scanner for me?"]
[22:56] * Raphael shakes his head, quickly double-checking his pockets before stepping through.
[22:58] <Minaplo> [No problems. The detective takes to patting Raphael down, although he doesn't seem to find anything.-
[23:00] <Minaplo> [A second later Rei returns, the bag gone, and goes through the same process (although with Chang patting her down instead of Lim). Once all that is done, Lim gives them both a brief nod. "Follow me, please." He says, turning to go deeper into the building.]
[23:08] * Raphael 's hands go to his pockets, sticking close to Rei as he follows Lim down the hall. "… how bad is it, Detective? I, uh, really wasn't expecting to be talking to someone from Trafficking."
[23:09] <Minaplo> ["I can't say yet, Mr. Demers." Said Lim.-
[23:12] <Minaplo> [After a few minutes of walking and an elevator ride, during which they see plenty of officers and detectives along the way, they end up in Lim's office. It's small, containing a desk, a computer on said desk, three chairs (two guests, one for him), a filing cabinet, an electronic tablet and a telephone.-
[23:13] <Minaplo> ["Take a seat," he says, definitely not stopping to take his own. Once Rei and Raphael are seated (providing they do), he boots up the tablet and hands it to them. It's in image viewer mode, showing the picture of a young man. "There's several women who might match your description in our database. Swipe left to see the others, and tell me if you find a match."]
[20:32] * Raphael has accepted the chair as ordered, and wastes no time in taking the tablet and getting to work. Eventually he'd stop swiping and confer with Rei in a low voice before turning the tablet over to Lim again. "I'm fairly sure that's her, sir."
[20:36] <Minaplo> [Lim takes the tablet in hand, glancing down at the tablet for a moment, before he places it down on the table. "I was worried you'd say that. Evelyn Lee, huh."-
[20:36] <Minaplo> ["Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions, Mr. Demers?"]
[20:38] * Raphael shakes his head. "Of course not, Detective."
[20:41] <Minaplo> ["You, your companion, your Mr. Marx, you're all- tourists?"]
[20:42] <Raphael> "That's right."
[20:46] <Minaplo> [There's something in Detective Lim's eyes. Something… Sympathetic, perhaps. "Mr. Demers, how did you arrive in Singapore?"]#
[21:05] <Raphael> "By train."
[21:06] <Mianplo> ["Uh-huh." He said. "Mr. Demers, was this trip Mr. Marx's idea?"]
[21:11] * Raphael frowns, glancing at Rei. "… Not really? All three of us wanted to go."
[21:13] <Mianplo> ["But did he suggest the idea in the first place? Did he maybe say he'd found a cheap deal, or that he'd won some tickets…?"]
[21:17] <Raphael> "…" Raphael gives the Detective a long look, his face still set into a frown. "… I suppose. He'd been talking about a trip like this since we met, but we never really had the money until recently."
[21:18] <Mianplo> ["So he didn't pay your way, anything like that?"]
[21:18] * Raphael shakes his head mutely.
[21:21] <Mianplo> ["Uh-huh." He said, leaning back in his chair, eyeing Raphael. After a second he leaned forward, tapping a key on his computer and heaving a sigh. "Alright, then. We'll keep an eye out for Mr. Marx and Ms. Lee, and we'll get back to you as soon as you find anything."]
[21:23] <Raphael> "Wait, wait." Raphael says quickly. "Who is she? Is there anything we can do to help?"
[21:37] <Mianplo> ["She's a local malcontent with a history of preying on tourists." Said Lim. "And there probably -is-, or at least I'd hoped so, but it wouldn't be an appropriate thing to ask of a foreign national."}
[21:46] <Raphael> "Look… Detective. Please." Raphael says, letting go of Rei to lean forward in his chair. "We're a long way from home, and if Levin's in trouble we want to do anything we can to get him back. Just tell us what you need us to do."
[21:52] <Mianplo> ["… Alright, here's the deal." He said. "Evelyn Lee is a member of the Alves Group- they're arms traffickers, and they have a big presence in Singapore. When you first told me about you problems, I had the suspicion that Mr. Marx may have been a gun trafficker himself, intending to use you as a mule to smuggle weapons through the country without your knowledge. If that were true, which I doubt it is now, your Mr. Marx would've shown himself eventually, and I would've asked you to wear a wire when dealing with him. As it stands now, if you truly wanted to help, we'd need you to pose as a weapons buyer and have you make contact with the Alves Group."-
[21:52] <Mianplo> [He smiled wryly. "I need someone off the radar for the job, but as I said, it's not for a foreign national."]
[14:16] <Raphael> [14:07] * Raphael hesitates, looking a little warier with everything out in the open. "… but if you had someone else, you probably would have done it by now."
[14:17] <Minaplo> ["That's how it goes."]
[14:21] <Raphael> "Look, Detective. Surely we're exactly the sort of people you need. Who could be more off the radar than some foreign tourists?" Raphael said, leaning forward again. "I -can't- go home without doing all I can to find my friend, and if this is what needs to be done to get him back then I want to do it. -Please-."
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Aren't most tourists told to avoid local troubles?" He shook his head. "We can do it, but we'll need to discuss the details some other time. I go home at 6. Can you make it to the Four Pork Dumplings and a Beef Stew by 7 PM? It's on Temple Street in Chinatown."]
[14:32] <Raphael> "Of course. Thank you, sir." Raphael says, offering his hand across the table.
[14:33] <Minaplo> [Lim took it, and shook it. "We'll see if you still feel like thanking me after all this is through."]
[14:35] <Raphael> "If it gets Levin back I'm not complaining." Raphael said seriously, pushing back his seat and standing up with Rei. "We'll meet you later tonight. Is there anything else we should bring?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["Anything of Levin's that you think might help."]
[14:38] <Raphael> "Alright. We'll see you then." Raphael says, giving the detective one last nod of thanks before heading for the door.
[14:49] <Minaplo> [Once they were out of the door and out of the HQ, Rei let out a long sigh. "That was pretty nerve-wracking."]
[14:52] * Raphael lets his shoulders sag a little. "You're not wrong. I hope the story will hold up…" He mutters. "This is hardly my usual line of work."
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["No kidding." Said Rei, letting her own shoulders sag a little. "Alright, Raffy. Where do we go now? Should we just wait for 7…?"]
[19:49] * Raphael pulls back one of his jacket cuffs to check his watch. "… It's only 9am. No point in wasting most of the day. We should try and speak to the local newspapers for more leads, don't you think?"
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["That's a good idea. Lim-san would probably appreciate if we knew more about the goings-on as well." Said Rei.]
[19:55] <Raphael> "… Maybe. It might be best if he doesn't know that part, but I guess it depends on what we find." Raphael said, beginning to wander down the sidewalk away from the station. "Oh, that reminds me. When you're able to get it safely, do you think I could have my backpack back?"
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Alright."-
[20:03] <Minaplo> [It would be at this point that Raphael might notice the same taxi driver as before slowly driving alongside them, his attention focused not on them- although he was their goal- but on constantly blocking a second taxi cab who was trying to solicit Raphael.]
[20:05] * Raphael turned his head to stare at this for a couple of seconds with a small smile on his lips, but eventually he moved towards their original cab and motioned Rei to follow. He does pause to give the second driver an apologetic look, however.
[20:07] <Minaplo> [The second driver just shakes his head at Raphael and drives off.-
[20:08] <Minaplo> ["Rude asshole." Said their driver as they got in. He's holding a mobile in his left hand, and has just finished furiously tapping in a text before throwing it into the middle compartment beneath the radio. "Where to?"]
[20:20] <Raphael> "The…" Raphael pulls a small notepad from his pocket, flipping through it in search of one particular scribbling, "The Daily Missive, please." He'd quickly rattle off the address as it was written down in his notes.
[20:22] <Minaplo> ["Daily Missive." He repeated, easing the car back onto its nice and steady path across the city.-
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Police got their hands full these days, huh?"]
[20:25] <Raphael> "Do they? It seemed fairly quiet in there, considering the size of the city."
[20:26] <Minaplo> ["An act." Said the man. "If you walk in and it looks like a mess… They have to look quiet and calm all the time."]
[20:27] <Raphael> "Mmm. True enough."
[20:32] <Minaplo> [About 45 later, after a drive through the Downtown Core- the heart of Singapore, made up of wide streets criss-crossing between endless malls, complexes and pavilions- they arrived in front of a tall office building. The sign out the front did in fact indicate that this was where the Daily Missive was based- but other signs also told Raphael that they had to share this building.]
[20:39] <Raphael> Money was paid and doors were opened, and soon enough Raphael and Rei would be back on the street. Raphael's backpack had been quietly returned to him over the course of their trip, and now he takes the time to adjust it while pulling his radio (Styled closely after a modern phone) from his pocket. "I just have make a quick call, Rei."
[20:40] <Minaplo> ["Okay."]
[20:52] * Raphael pressed the transmit button three times in quick succession - A prearranged pattern of static to let people know who they were trying to contact without explicitly saying so. Then he waited.
[20:53] <Minaplo> [("This is Johnny.") Came Blue's voice from the other side.]
[20:56] <Raphael> "Edmond." Raphael replied, stepping a bit closer to the building to try and keep out of earshot of anyone passing by. "I might have a lead on Lee, and potentially some of the others from the group."
[21:00] <Minaplo> [("Oh yeah? Goodo.")]
[21:04] <Raphael> "Might've done some damage to Marx's credentials to do it, though. You might want to think about grabbing one of the spares, just in case."
[21:04] <Minaplo> [("Man, it is not even lunchtime yet. Alright, I'll look into it.")]
[21:08] <Raphael> "Thanks." Raphael said, releasing the call button without waiting for further smalltalk.#
#0[21:10] <Minaplo> ["All done?" Asked Rei, a few metres away.]
[21:11] <Raphael> "Yeah, we should be fine." Raphael nods, gesturing towards the building. "You ready?"
[21:13] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. Edmund Star gets an exclusive…~"]
[21:15] <Raphael> "Funny." Raphael smirks as he leads the way towards the building.
[21:18] <Minaplo> [Into the building- then up an elevator to the 9th floor, the entirety of which belongs to the Missive. As they step out, they see the receptionist - an East Asian man, maybe in his late thirties- directly ahead behind a blue-grey desk. The Daily Missive logo is written in front and on the wall behind said desk. People are crossing between the other rooms and offices, calling out to each other…]
[16:46] * Raphael lingers near the elevators for a moment, remaining largely out of sight of the reception desk as he turns back to Rei. "So. Harry Tay seems to be their street-level crime reporter from what I can gather. If we're going to get information, it'll be from him. Do you have any ideas on how to approach this?"
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["It'd be easier if we had some info of our own to give him." Said Rei thoughtfully. "Something he could make into a story. Even if we don't, we could use it to get our foot in the door in case he's not interested in seeing us."]
[16:52] <Minaplo> <We could pretend we do and use it*>
[16:55] <Raphael> "… we already have the kidnapping in play, but I'm worried about drawing more attention to ourselves." Raphael mused.
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Hm." Rei rubbed at her chin lightly with the thumb of her right hand, her left hand tucked uner her right elbow. "All we really need to do is convince him that we're not just some people off the street. That we know something." She tapped her right foot against the ground. "Making up a story wouldn't hold any weight unless we had some proof, like a prop or something."]
[17:07] * Raphael taps his own foot, unconsciously mimicking the gesture. "… I think I might have an idea."
[17:10] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[17:13] <Raphael> "Mmm. We have Surovite weaponry on-hand. What's the most likely origin of something like that in this city?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Either the army, or- aha."]
[17:14] <Raphael> "Yes." Raphael nods, smiling just a little. "It's a chance, at least. Shall we try it?"
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhmm!"]
[17:24] * Raphael gives a quick nod, taking a moment to straighten up his attire before turning and walking confidently towards the desk.
[17:34] <Minaplo> [The receptionist looks up at Raphael, his dark blue suit and tie neat and straight. "Welcome to the Daily Missive. May I help you?"]
[17:42] <Raphael> "We were hoping to speak to Harry Tay if at all possible." Raphael says. "I'm afraid we don't have an appointment, but we have some information that we think he'd find useful."
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["I see." Said the receptionist. He looks back down at his computer, then picks up his phone and dials a short number. After a quick conversation he looks up at Raphael again. "He'll see you. His office is just down- that hallway- his name's on the wall so you can't miss it."]
[17:54] * Raphael says a quick thank you, motions to Rei, and a moment later the two are off down the corridor.
[18:05] <Minaplo> [They find his office soon enough, and after they knock a voice calls them in.-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Harry Tay is a rather thin man, with somewhat scraggly growth on his chin and cheeks, an uneven goatee, and a rather messy mop of straight brown hair. His office is nondescript- he has a desk, with a computer, and three office chairs- one for him and the other two pushed awkwardly up against the wall. There's a picture frame on his desk, facing him- Raphael can't really see who's on it.-
[18:12] <Minaplo> [As they enter he claps his hands together, rubbing them slowly. "Hello, hello."]
[18:16] <Raphael> Raphael advances into the room, navigating carefully around the cramped obstacle course of chairs to offer his hand. "Mister Tay?"
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["That's right. You are?"]
[18:36] <Raphael> "Zachary Roulle," Raphael says, before gesturing to Rei, "And Amelie Levesque."-
[18:37] <Raphael> He shoots a worried glance over his shoulder towards the open door. "Do you mind if we shut that?"
[18:40] <Minaplo> ["Prefer it."]
[18:44] <Raphael> "Perfect." Raphael reaches back to nudge the door shut before leaning on the edge of one of the chairs. "… To cut to the chase, Mister Tay, I believe we might be in some trouble."
[18:46] <Minaplo> ["Really? And you bring you and your trouble here why?"]
[18:49] <Raphael> "Because we need help, and we feel that you can provide it. In exchange we can offer you something."
[18:51] <Minaplo> [Rei gave him an imploring look.-
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["A…ha. Well, take a seat, then." Said Tay.]
[19:05] * Raphael pulls out one of the chairs for Rei and slips into the other, slinging his backpack around to sit on his lap. He unzips the bag and removes an item from near the top with his thumb and forefinger, setting it down on the desk between them.-
[19:05] <Raphael> It's a knife, practical and plain enough to suggest a military design. It has a plain black grip made of a rubber-like material, and its blade is almost entirely hidden in a black leather sheath. Only a small gleam of metal is visible where the sheath has slipped back.-
[19:05] <Raphael> "This is our problem."
[19:13] <Minaplo> [Tay's eyebrows rise, and he reaches over, grabbing the blade by the sheath and handle both. He slowly pulls it out a little more, eyeing the metal. "This is Surovite."]
[19:23] <Raphael> "… Some sort of military metal?"
[19:24] <Minaplo> ["…" His eyes narrow. "Alright, what's your story? How'd you get ahold of this?"]
[17:31] <Raphael> "It was a friend's." Raphael says. "Or at least we think it was. He's been missing for a few days, and when we looked through his luggage we found this along with… other things. Other weapons, cash…"
[17:36] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, huh." Said Tay, leaning back in his chair, tapping the blade with his knuckles. "Seems like your friend was more than he seemed…"]
[17:38] <Raphael> "Seems like." Raphael says tersely. "We don't know -what-, though. It's not like he was some sort of international assassin, you know?"
[17:43] <@Minaplo> ["Nah, the answer's obvious. He's probably a smuggler."]
[17:44] <Raphael> "… Of weapons? That Surovite?"
[17:57] <@Minaplo> ["That's right." Said Tay cheerfully. "In fact, if he's in Singapore he's probably working for or with the Alves Group."]
[18:00] * Raphael gives Tay a hard look, but breaks after a moment to shoot a sidelong glance at Rei. "Are they dangerous?"
[18:00] <@Minaplo> [Rei is looking suitably downcast and sombre at it all.-
[18:01] <@Minaplo> ["Can be!" Said Tay. He sheathed the blade.]
[18:02] * Raphael reached out a hand, silently asking for the weapon back. "How dangerous?"
[18:11] <@Minaplo> ["'One of the biggest criminal organisations on the planet' dangerous." Said Tay, handing the blade back hilt-first.]
[21:01] <@Raphael> "Are they particularly violent?" Raphael asks. "Or the target of violence? We need to… we need to find out if it's likely he's been killed, or we might become targets. Either by this Alves Group or their enemies, assuming they have them. "
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["Violence isn't their first answer, typically, they prefer to get others to do the fighting for them." Said Tay. "In many cities, Alves will supply local gangs with money and weaponry and push those groups to attack their rivals. But this is Singapore, a city that already prefers the buck to the bullet- there just aren't enough idiots around for big gangs to form. That's why Alves's presence here is so big, you see- they have to do everything themselves."-
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["Their rivals prefer to kill Alves members whenever they can, which is pretty hard, for reasons I just stated." Said Tay. He rapped his knuckles on the table, then opened one of his desk drawers. Within was a lunch box, which he took out and opened, revealing a richly dark red parcel of meat strips- a sort of jerky. It had a beefy, barbeque aroma; Tay took one strip out, popped it in his mouth and began to chew thoughtfully, holding the pack out to Rei and Raphael. Rei took a piece.-
[21:12] <Minaplo> ["Was any of his luggage missing?" Asked Tay.]
[21:15] * Raphael took another, apparently more out of a sense of politeness than any actual interest. "Just his daypack, but if he went anywhere he would've taken it with him. All of his papers were in there, I know that much."
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. He would've taken his goods if he intended to make a trade. It sounds to me like he was either taken randomly off the street- unlikely but possible- or he went out to find a contact and something went bad. Have you checked with the cops? They've been really cracking down recently- I know a bunch of old contact hotspots have turned into big stings…"]
[21:23] * Raphael glances at Rei again, and this time it takes a while for him to respond. "… we wanted to know what we were involved in before we got them involved. The embassy will probably be our next stop." Raphael says. "There've been a lot of arrests in these stings?"
[21:26] <Minaplo> ["Cops try to go hush-hush about it for obvious reasons." He continued to chew on his jerky. "But to be blunt, yes."]
[21:29] * Raphael takes a very small nibble of jerky, frowning. "More likely he's arrested than hurt, then. I suppose that's something…"
[21:36] <Minaplo> [The jerky was had a spicy, salty yet sweet at the same time, and Raphael could taste a mix of a cooking spice of some kind along with more easily recognisable chili, soy sauce and sugar. It was pretty good.-
[21:39] <Minaplo> ["Not so fast. See, when situations like this happen, the pool of contacts contracts." Said Tay. "The bad contacts drop out of 'circulation', and so the ones that remain get a larger share of the 'market'. But the hammered nail here? You've got situations where multiple groups, rival groups, are using the same contacts. You see why that's dangerous, right? Let's just say it wouldn't be the first time someone went to a contact, then got sold out to a rival…"]
[21:41] <Raphael> "Has that been happening lately?"
[21:42] <Minaplo> ["That's harder for me to answer. We'll say maybe."]
[21:46] <Raphael> "Well, have more Alves members been killed lately than is common?"
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["I think so…"]
[22:00] * Raphael gives Tay a hard look, chewing his lip. "… You know something, I think." Raphael says finally. "Please, sir. We really need the help."
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["I don't know much that's concrete." Said Tay irritably, still chewing on his jerky. "There've been a bunch of cases recently of people being killed whilst in possession of the sort of weaponry Alves peddles, but I dunno if they're buyers or members."]
[22:24] <Raphael> "Can you tell us about them?" Raphael asks.
[22:34] <Minaplo> ["Not all of them." Said Tay tersely. "There's like, 20 of them. Do you want an overview or something?"]
[22:38] <Raphael> "If you would."
[22:42] <Minaplo> ["Well, these cases either involved people who wielded Alves-esque weaponry or had some at home. A lot of attacks happened at home- victims were usually found stabbed, shot, or stabbed and shot. The attacks tend to have a lot in common- the location of the stab wounds and gun shots, for example."]
[22:48] * Raphael nods, but seems unwilling to interrupt just yet.
[22:50] <Minaplo> ["Wounds seem to be consistent with the high-end weaponry Alves tends to sell, so whoever's attacking these guys has access to the same shit they do. That's about it."]
[23:00] * Raphael nods slowly. "… Did you have anything you wanted to ask?" Raphael asks, turning to Rei.
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["Hm." Rei swallows her piece of jerky. "Mr. Tay, have you heard of any unexplained deaths recently?"-
[23:09] <Minaplo> ["Er… Seriously?" Tay scratched the back of his neck. "Lots of people die in unexplained ways…"-
[23:12] <Minaplo> ["Hm… Unexplained murders." Said Rei. "People dead at their homes, lying in big pools of blood, without any sign of a murder weapon…" She swallowed, a little nervously. "It's just, I heard someone talking about it the other day, saying that some people had been killed by ghosts or something, and I have a friend back home who's really into the supernatural. It's not related to our missing friend or anything, it's just- h-have the ghosts killed anyone?"-
[23:13] <Minaplo> ["Oh my God." Tay rubbed his face with both hands. "Ghost stories? You're asking me about ghost stories?"-
[23:14] <Minaplo> ["W-Well, we all know ghosts don't exist, but if murders like that really did happen, I want to make sure first instead of embarrassing myself by telling empty urban legends." Said Rei hastily.-
[23:16] <Minaplo> [Tay sucked on his teeth in clear irritation for a few seconds.-
[23:16] <Minaplo> ["There've been two or three cases like that, I think, recently."]
[23:18] * Raphael actually looks /surprised/ for the briefest of moments - he had hardly been expecting that to work. Of course, he should have known better than most how persuasive Rei could be when she wanted something.
[23:19] <Minaplo> ["I don't have the details at all, except that they happened." Said Tay shortly. He took out a piece of paper and a pen, and scribbled down some names. He folded the paper up and held it out to Rei. "The names. You want more info, go ask the cops. I'm tapped."]
[23:23] * Raphael waits until the details have been exchanged, but he doesn't waste much time in taking the less-than-subtle hint and standing in preparation to leave. "We really appreciate your time, sir. You've been a great deal of help." He says, offering his hand again. "We'd be happy to pay you for the time we've taken, if you want."
[23:24] <Minaplo> [Tay took the hand and shook it briefly. "Got $50?"]
[23:25] <Raphael> "Certainly." Raphael pulled out his wallet and found the right notes, passing them across the desk.
[23:26] <Minaplo> [Tay took the money and pocketed it. "Have yourselves a good one."]
[23:27] <Raphael> "And you." Raphael nodded, before turning to leave.
[23:35] <Minaplo> [Rei went as well.-
[23:36] <Minaplo> ["What do you think?" She asked as they stepped back onto the elevator.]
[23:39] <Raphael> "Hardly a lot of information for $50, but if it keeps him happy I won't complain. May I have a look at that set of names? There may be something more substantial there."
[23:40] <Minaplo> [Rei gave him the paper.-
[23:40] <Minaplo> [The names written down don't ring a bell to Raphael, nor do they remind him of anyone he knows. It seems they'll need some research to figure out what their deal is.]
[23:48] <Raphael> "Hmm. The others might know more." Raphael sighs, leaning back a little as the elevator slides to a halt. "… I wish I had more experience with this sort of thing. It's hard to gauge our progress."
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["Hm. I think, so long as we have a lead to keep following, then we're in the pink." Said Rei. "I can't say how far our leads will go, though…"]
[00:14] * Raphael nods. "Let's go back to the hotel for now. We can pass these names on to Wilwudski and see if he's able to turn up any details while we prepare for tonight."
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Okay. That sounds like a good idea…"]
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Chinatown was almost like a large, open-air mall. The roads were nearly empty of cars, instead being filled with columns of people rushing to and fro. There were shops along every path and avenue and alley, and then the shops almost seemed to have shops, built up on top of each other. A grocer, a herbal shop and a clothing shop might be squeezed in next to each other whilst outside, four food stalls competed for attention, openly cooking fat, glazed roast ducks, or patting specially flavoured meatballs together, or cooking clumps of small meat pastries together in a pot.-
[16:04] <Minaplo> [The Four Pork Dumplings and a Beef Stew- the restaurant that Detective Lim Kwan Hsien had directed them towards- was not very large, with the eating area consisting of six tables packed fairly tightly together. The kitchen was enclosed behind a wall, with a door leading out directly into the eating area covered by the front desk. A cute cartoon image of four alarmed pork dumplings being immersed in hot stew hung over the door, the paint slightly faded.-
[16:07] <Minaplo> [As they entered, they would see four of the tables were occupied, the occupants paying them no real attention. The same wasn't true for a trio of men standing outside the restaurant performing tricks and passing out pamphlets, who wolf whistled at Rei as she and Raphael passed.-
[16:08] <Minaplo> [Lim was standing next to the counter, dressed in casual clothes now, chatting with the young man tending desk. They seemed quite familiar, joking and laughing- the man said something, and Lim playfully cuffed him across the back of the head.-
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["Mr. Demers." Said Lim as they entered. "Miss." He said, nodding at Rei. "Glad to see you chose to make it."]
[16:19] * Raphael is still frowning a little as he enters the restaraunt, having given the men out on the pavement a dark look as they passed by. Still, any remaining annoyance is quickly overwhelmed by the relief of stepping into air conditioning and escaping the humid evening outside.-
[16:21] <Raphael> He gives the man a polite nod as he settles in to one of the chairs. "Like we said, Detective, if it's possible it could help…"
[16:26] <Minaplo> ["Hi, Mr. Detective." Said Rei.-
[16:27] <Minaplo> [Lim nodded, taking his own seat.-
[16:27] <Minaplo> [He gestured around vaguely at the store. "This is my family's store." He said. "So I may be biased when I say the food's good. Go ahead and order."]
[16:38] * Raphael spends a minute or two perusing the menu before settling on the mie goreng and a couple of (Hopefully inanimate) pork dumplings and sitting back as he waits for Rei to decide.
[16:44] <Minaplo> [Rei ordered a bowl of fat wheat noodles with beef and a honey soy sauce along with a small bowl of fluffy white rice and garlic prawns.-
[16:45] <Minaplo> [Lim, of course, was going to have four pork dumplings in a beef stew- the restaurant special.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> [Lim waited until the food was served before he really got into the swing of things. A beer was brought out for him, whilst a glass bottle of cola was served up for Rei. Raphael would get whatever he asked for drink-wise.-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["So, you probably have a lot of questions." Said Lim, his eyes mostly on Raphael whilst Rei slurped up some of her noodles.]
[17:05] <Raphael> "… Yeah." Raphael nods, taking a bite out of the dumpling. "Do you mind starting by running us through exactly what you need us to do?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["I need you to infiltrate the Alves Group for us."]
[17:15] <Raphael> "Right, but -how-?"
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["You will be posing as a buyer interested in Alves products, meeting up with a known Alves agent." Said Lim. "During this meet-up, you will express an interest in becoming affiliated with the group, and will present a reason as to why you should be allowed to join them. I'll give you some information for you to pass on to prove your worthiness."]
[17:47] * Raphael seems to hesitate for a second, looking first at Rei and then down at his meal. "Alright…" Raphael says slowly. "I understand. Do we know anything about this… agent?"
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["He goes by the name of Rough Le." Said Lim. "Not very important, but not new meat either."]
[17:52] <Raphael> "And is Rough likely to give us much trouble?"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["No. The Alves seem to be hungry for new blood recently…"]
[18:03] * Raphael nods slowly. "And what happens if he does? Will you have people there to step in…?"
[18:12] <Minaplo> ["No, Mr. Demers, you're not here to catch a tiny fish like Le. You're here to become a double agent."]
[18:15] * Raphael nods, looking thoughtful as he scoops up another mouthful of noodles.
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["The Alves have a- spy inside the police force." Said Lim. "Your ultimate goal will be to find out who it is."]

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