Mourning Routine/Pattern Interrupt [ Attn: Noel ]
#11
It is a waiting game. The forensic team takes some time to arrive and when they do they take more time to go about their tasks. Swabs of blood are taken above and below. Numbered cards with measurements for comparison are placed out and photographs are taken; not nearly as many as if there had been a body found, but there is blood and there is damage and there is a detective asking for them to be thorough.

After a time that detective, Detective Fuller (or so he has introduced himself in the meanwhile), walks her through the door and deeper into the crime scene.

It is then she will see the other doors and how they were overcome. Some, those weaker ones, are pried and pulled free. Strong armed. Perhaps by a crow bar? The stronger ones seem as if the doors where crushed, splintered, force exerted to batter them down just as above.

Up where she perhaps hasn't been before is a tiled corridor, rooms off each and into each of these rooms (no doors cry at Flood and tell him blood sorcery is here, usurper's artfulness is here; no thresholds and no objects), but at least one of these rooms has a number of file cabinets and boxes of books and papers. There is an attic up and away and the ladder is pulled down and up there are more papers and covered furniture. That's if Verna is allowed that far. It's a quick perusal she's allowed once the detective realizes- perhaps by her own admission or maybe her unsure gait- that she doesn't know this area very well. It's not where the most damage seems to have been done, in any case.

The police don't know about the missing staked vampire or whatever else was taken from attic, and in all likelihood neither does Verna.

What she knows about is in the basement. Down to where the strongest door fell, this time to a more evenly spread amount of force, like maybe it was tackled down by a trio of football linemen. Down to where the place is turned upside down, but not so much as it has been torn apart, innards exposed, equipment's metal casings turned to jagged metal and crystals and glass to smaller bits. The larger contents of the room- tables with computers on them- were simply overturned. Maybe hurled? Most of the damage is to the desktops, the supercomputer toppled and smashed on the floor, and the microscope picked up and slammed against the same floor like a guitar after a particularly shredding solo.
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#12
Verna almost doesn't want to see it. Seeing the wreck they made of the place would make it more real. But she follows the man when Detective Fuller wants to take her.

The murals on the walls clash with all the destruction -- these are her first thoughts. Images so beautiful as even incomplete works of art shouldn't exist in a place where all the doors have been crushed and the contents of rooms scattered.

Fuller did tell her that the place looked like it had been turned upside down. The dream is dead, and it's best to just get on with things. So she takes a breath and continues.

The first place Fuller wants to take her is the place she's never been. She lets him know that the lab assistants aren't allowed upstairs. She's never been there. Her inventories wouldn't include whatever files and storage her employer kept. The real work was always done below ground.

Verna does not know about the missing staked vampire. Verna does not believe in such superstitious nonsense.

She has managed to contain herself, to be as prim and proper as can be during the process of inspecting the warehouse. But the sight of the basement laboratory takes the breath out of her. They were meticulous about destroying everything.

After a few seconds of stunned silence, she pipes up: "I want to take the hard drives. I want to see if I can't at least recover our files. Your inventory would be in... that," she says, and points to the wreck of a desktop machine.

There are several rooms down here. A little kitchen area, a conference room, and the laboratory proper. They didn't seem to have much of a preference for what to destroy. It's all gone.

She walks with care over the glass-strewn ground over to a space that once was particularly special to her. It's the blackboard where Dr. Andrássy shared coffee and a remarkable breakthrough with her. And shared it in a real sense -- he wanted her input too. The blackboard has been ripped off of the wall, and lies flat on the floor. Carefully, she rights it again, leans it up against the wall. To Detective Fuller, the scrawling of heavily arcane math and strange symbols and diagrams would probably make about as much sense as the language of aliens. To Verna, they spark memories.

Here, they are calculating the energy required to prize carbon atoms from other carbon atoms in different geometric configurations. Here they are drawing out an explanatory diagram for the ratio of oxidizer to antioxidant needed.

"None of the important pieces seem to be missing," Verna says, staring at the blackboard. "They've all just been destroyed."

It lends credence to her theory that this was not just people looking for drugs. Who in their right mind would destroy all the computers? Even those on the lowest rungs of society (one might argue especially they) would think to sell the easily sold.

The police presence makes her feel safe. Whoever it was who did this won't be back while they're around. They hopefully wouldn't be so stupid as to add cop killing to their list of crimes. But soon the police work is done. And they leave her with a warehouse with no door and a basement full of broken dreams. The evidence has been collected, the pictures taken, and whatever happens to the place next isn't their concern.

It's Verna's.

Because nobody has called back. And no matter how many times she calls, her employers' phones are turned off.

She doesn't have access to the lab's finances, but she's not going to leave the warehouse wide open for anyone to come by and loot. Money has suddenly become extremely tight, with her job seemingly over, and with student loans and rent coming due. She could potentially afford a replacement door, though nothing like what was there protecting the place before. And even that would require that she forgo food for a while.

So she goes to the hardware store and buys something else: boards, nails, and a hammer.

When anyone comes back to look at the destroyed warehouse, they will find that the doorway has been sealed by someone who took a great deal of care and effort to make sure that the wood lined up straight, and the nails were spaced evenly. It's almost like a calling card for Verna's handiwork, to those who know her. Everything must be perfect, even when it isn't.
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#13
The blood in the basement laboratory is near the door and Verna has to walk around it to avoid stepping where the spray of droplets have settled. It doesn't look like enough to signal someone's death. No aorta had been opened or artery ruptured.

The detective seems willing to give her a good deal of leeway what with the doctors being unreachable. She can try to salvage the hard discs out of the desktops. The microscope cannot be helped and neither can the computer, but they can be stripped for parts, and maybe the important pieces survived. There's the data on those hard drives and there are Dr. Andrassy's notes, those that haven't yet been transcribed, on those boards and perhaps elsewhere in the rooms she hasn't ventured into before. She can try to salvage anything that she wishes out of the wrecked lab and there is a possibility there will be something left of Dr. Andrassy's work. Incomplete, yes, but is science ever finished answering questions?

And Verna has so many questions.

What will become of her position? That is no doubt one of them. Verna keeps having to walk around that dried blood, and her eyes can't help but go to it every time she moves between tasks, a red curtain dropping at regular intervals. Something about the smell is familiar and subconsciously it may even be intoxicating. Or she could just be lightheaded with worry.

Even as she goes about burying this place, sealing it up like a tomb, she has no one to grieve with except for Carmen coming and going. He is late. He is put off by the state of the facility. He goes without helping.

When Verna finally leaves she takes those hard drives. A stack of papers? This and that into her car because there's no use trying to work on them in all that destruction.

There is one thing she had missed: A stray streak of scarlet.

It doesn't catch her eye until she stops at a red light. The hard disk moves, momentum of the car, sliding and catching on the edge of a notebook and revealing it.

The red. It's more blood. Some left by whoever had cut himself breaking in or been cut and deposited during the laboratory's sabotage. It is still daylight out when Verna is done. The afternoon sun gleams through her car window. The moment the blood is exposed to that light it behaves oddly. It sizzles. It smokes. It turns to ash and then dusk and then it is gone in the gentle breeze of her car air conditioning.
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#14
It must be the stress.

Verna sits at that stop light with her foot slammed on the brake while she watches a streak of blood turn to ash, her mind playing tricks on her.

Maybe... maybe it's not blood at all. There are certain extremely unstable chemicals that might use the energy of either the light or heat from the sunlight to... well, usually they explode. They're unstable.

Burning away isn't entirely out of the question however. Obviously not.

There's an impatient horn blaring behind her, and she looks up. The light's green. Yes. Right.

So she goes home, and she makes very sure to lock her door behind her (for all the good that would do against someone with a battering ram) and calls her mom in order to relay the terrible events.

Then, she calls Marie. She gives her friend the the information she needs, trying not to scare her. The poor woman has been through enough. But the basics are that the lab was broken into, that Verna can't reach her boss, that she's probably out of a job, and won't be back to work until she can find something new. And, the ones who did that to the lab might be trying to kill Dr. Andrássy's research -- research which she now has copies of, and knows very well. In other words, it might not be safe to bring the kids over.
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