The Sprawl is a metropolitin equivalent of 20 car pile up. A ghetto smashed between Company controlled Midtown and the industrial zone ringing the outer city, the meeting place of several major Ethno-neighborhoods and oddly a point of entrance to the Metroplex. It serves as a buffer of sorts between the "decent" citizens and the undesiriables, its home to the poor, the transienmt, the illegal. Any who fall threw the cracks end up here. The lucky ones have homes, eke out some living other fall in among the Nomands, Scroungers and gangs that roam like carnivours packs among mile after mile of shoddy construction waiting to be levelled in the next quake. The Sprawl has no defined boundaries. Conditions just get worse and worse until it becomes a true urban nightmare. Its been called many things, blight, horror and tragedy but it exist and one thing all agree on is that there isn't much that can be done about it.

The smokey hot, dense packed plasticrete maze of the city is a homecoming for most of the team, not welcome, not pretty in most cases but familar. After recieving direct flight clearance to the Preinct station, Holly pilots the VTOL along a circuitous route to avoid a Food riot and anti aircraft snipers along the Harbor City coats. Aqua Pirates are rarely respectful of police markings. Most consider it a challenge.

A good view of the Precinct station is afforded the VTOL passengers as it settles down. The building is a fortress, not a place of justice, not a base for civil service. The design makes no pretensious toward either. Walled off by a barrier of solid plasticrete, reinforced with steel beams at least 4 meters thick. Laced with mounted weapons smart guns, lights and shock wire its only accesible threw a single guarded by several Metrocops in full squad armor, imposing black hardshells gleaming in the afternnon sun faces hidden behind silvered visors. They stood easy, hands never straying far from their holsters and slung rifles. The "yard" was narrow and bare. Nothing provided any cover, any way of sheilding from the gun towards and ports on the building itself. A kill zone some 30 meters long to run if you got over the wall.

Hexagonal, the station was only one story tall, featureless grey walls broken only be regular gun ports, monitors and automated cannons. Short steps lead up to the entrance, past another guard station and double heavy doors. The entry was set off at an angle to the gate, nothing could drive straight threw and ram the doors. The more tactially savvy members of the team would be there were anti vehicle mines strewn all threw the grounds. The VTOL pad was build inside, accessed by sliding canopy cover. It was large enough to take the team's craft easily along the 4 AV-9 parked side by side, Metro black and silver, wing pods laden with pods and guns. The craft settled with a gentle thump. "All clear, thank you for flying AI airlines." Holly said. "Rather alot of interferecence here. Did you notice when I lost contact for 2.56 seconds? Fortunatly there were no obstacles."

"I did." Blink says. "Kind of a machine to machine rapport, eh, Holly?"

"I thought it was 2.38 seconds, myself," Photon joked nervously. She was in her most official-looking uniform for the meeting with Donovan. "But I could be wrong." She tugged at the collar of her uniform.

Warp memorized the inside of VTOL so if things got rough he could warp them back into the VTOL.

As she stepped out, Jennifer took in welcome and familar smell of fuel, oil and onzone, the atmosphere of mechanics and machines. It stirred a little homesickness. How long had it been since she'd been back at the garage?

They were met at the base of the ramp by two officers, a man and a woman both crisply dressed in the dark blue and black metro police uniform. They saluted Photon briskly. "Welcome to Precinct 2348. I'm Turner, this Malcovivh", he gestured to shorter blonde woman. "We'll escort you to the Cheif office, follow us."

Photon nodded, then dropped back slightly as the two officers led them farther into the building. She found herself walking next to Circe. "Christ," she muttered to the other woman, "I merit a salute now?"

"At least you merit 'something'." Circe replied. "Be glad of it, Jennifer. You're the only non-crook here, besides Dr. Martins…." Circe turned slightly and winked. "Just don't expect ME to salute you."

Inside, the resemblance to a military remained. Everything in its proper place, people moving with purpose and a repressed urgency. The halls were wide and bright, setting off the stark grey walls. The group couldn't help but feel like they were underground, buried in some immense bunker. Turner and Malcovich didn't seem to much on conversation and stayed a couple of paces ahead of the rest.

Von Schmiessen glanced around him. Now this was the type of environment he was used to. This current group didn't seem to be able to act as a cohesive unit, in his opinion. Maybe this mission will teach them the value of teamwork and trust…

The ops centers was a multilevel open air center, accessed by lift. There was several wall monitor and holo boards projecting grid layouts of the Sprawl and surrouding districts, crimson zones and highlights tracking vehicle paths, incidents and myriad other information. A war room. The Cheif's office was set back near the rear of the center, walled in by smoked glass. The door was ajar.

"Reporting with the Purgatory team, sir," Malcovich spoke for the first time as they stepped, both snapping off a text book salute. In person, the cheif was if anything more solid, more stoic looking. He might have been carved out of stone. He stood slowly, hands clasped behind his back.

"Good. dismissed." he nodded to two. They turned and left, the door closing behind them with soft whisper.

"I appreciate the prompt arrival. Beleive me, I want to get this sewn up as quickly as possible."

"Chief, if it's in the Sprawl, so do we." Blink replied. "Was there any 'signature' to the way the killing was done? Anything that might be recognizable? And what is the condition of the officer that is still alive?"

"The crime scene is still being examined but from the intially finding it looks as though the officer was killed by some sort of animal, likely cybernetically enhanced." he punched a display holographic. Wide angle shots from hoving drones, looking over a small but well decorated apartment. The spray of crimson staining the floor and oriential rugs killed the decor and as the shot panned to the pale blue uniformed body a collective quiet gasp went threw the team. The officer's throat had been ripped out. Not cut, or shot but torn into a moist red hole, fatty flaps of skin, meat and limp veins bare to his spine. Above his face was frozen, wide eyeed in etearnal surprise, the mouth lip.

"You can see here." Green linescapes marked off the blood patterns,"that the body most likly is laying in the position in which it fell. Here." A red circle outlined a hunk of meat laying a meter or so away. "Is whats left of his esphagus. Forensics is looking at it right now but the conclusions are…vague."

Dr. Martins spoke up, voice cool and clinically detached. "I could assist them. I'm certified in Forensic Pathology." Blink saw that her eyes never left the display, seemingly fixated on it.

Blink stepped next to April. "Something you recognize, sweetheart?" she whispered.

"Hmm." April flinched, head snapping around to Blink. "Oh, no… just thinking."

"Yeah, we'll talk later…" Blink mumbled.

The cheif nodded,"Any helpe would be appreciated."

Warp stepped into the office and started looking at the various things covering the walls of hte office.

"Chief?" Blink asked. "Any trace of unusual IR or UV signatures? Or energy trace signatures on security cameras?"

"Energy traces? Radiation sweeps aren't part of a standard crime scene investigation. Nothing turned unusual turned up on the UV tests for blood and fluid traces, however."

"How long ago did this happen?" Warp asked as he faced the chief trying to ignore the gruesome scene on the screen.

"Are you referring to the death or the entire investigation?"

"Both," Warp answered the officer.

"The time of death was estimated at 72 hours ago." the cheif paused. "Though the findings were somewhat inconclusive. As for the investigtion its been underway for two week prior to the attewmpted arrests. As I said before it wasn't considered high priority."

"Chief, if it's possible, I'd like to see the crime scene briefly, and to know what security measures were in place there. Maybe get a better idea of how the person inside operated." I'm used to busting INTO places, not out of them…should be the same, just in reverse. Blink thought.

"Forensics is making a final sweep. it should take about an hour. As for security, practically non existent. Simple code lock and window bars." The look on the cheif's face shows a certain perplexity at this, a little nagging doubt.

Makes me wonder too, Chief. almost as if the resident didn't care. Well, this little sneak hasn't been in there yet… Blink thought, grinning slightly.

"About the surviving officer?" Photon prodded. She was avoiding looking at the viewscreen.

"He's been taken to Mercy Central for evaluation. On last report Officer Micheals is still catotonic, totally unresponsive to treatment."

"I'd like to see him, if I may." Circe speaks up. "Perhaps there will be something about him that I can reach, maybe a clue to what happened. Is this possible?"

"Ah, you are the telepath yes? Normally there'd be some paperwork due for the mental sanctity regulations but it can be waived for now… consdering the urgecny of this situation."

"I appreciate that, Chief." Circe replied. "The sooner I can 'talk' to him, the better." Catatonic… but not brain dead… might still be reachable… she thought. Might take some effort, though. She sighed, feeling the weight of the responsibility….

"Can we see all the notes of the investigating officers and their conclusions?"

"Some of it classified but I can give you offical open reports if you think it would help."

"Just how classified are these reports, anyway, Chief?" Photon asked. "I do have a certain level of clearance." And I don't like secrets.

"More so a great deal of the information in them is sensitive in nature. Revealing it would place several figure in danger." the cheif replied.

Now why would there be classified info? Blink wondered. What do they need to keep from us, not to mention the media….

"It would. If you keep info away fom us it decreases our effectiveness in helping you. Also it brings into the question the amount of full cooperation we're receiving." Warp stated.

Fixing Warp with a hard stare, the chief replied tersely, "You've been called in to assist us, not the other way around. The files you'll be seeing are as complete as security provsions allow. Thats all I'm going to say on that matter." Warp shrugs.

Why me? Why me? Please don't let him piss the Chief off any more than he already has… Photon looked faintly distressed.

Doug, what do you think you're doing? This isn't the place… Circe thought.

Oh sure, Warp. Piss off the cops… just whnat we need… Blink thought. She moved back next to April, gently taking her arm. "So," she whispered. "you gonna tell me what's going on or not?"

"Its hard to explain", April replied. "very hard. I don't think you could understand." She sighed, closing her eyes. "She is…known to me."

"Known to you? What's that supposed to mean? Boy do we need to talk later… if we didn't have work to do… I'd…" Blink replied.

"I don't think there is a word for it, the relationship. Not parent, not relative." April stumbled, searching for just what to say, brow knitting in frustration. Muttering something in esperanto, something that sounded rather… curselike she she shook her head. "I'm making this more complicated than it has to be. Dr. Kimgure designed me. My…Creche class."

Blink paused. "Oh." Then she grinned at April, lightly touching her hand. "Maybe you weren't the only one making things more complicated, April. Is that why you wanted to come along? To see if you could stop her?"

"No, to see if this was true…" April looked back to the screen. "Imagine thinking that the very person who conceived you, not just you but all you're type may be a criminal, of a diseased mind…"

Blink squeezed her hand. "Somehow, I doubt that you are, April. I've seen you in action. Besides, you're my doctor, aren't you?" She leaned in close and whispered, "and you taste good, too…."

April cracked a small smile, blushing. Blink smiled slightly as well, but said nothing more.

"Anything else we should know before getting started, Chief?" Photon asked.

"Yes," his tone sounded grave. Sweeping his gaze from person to person," This needs to be kept on null, quiet. A situation this potentially out of control could cuase gave public concern."

No shit… Blink thought. "Hey, Chief. NOt to worry. We're the souls of discretion. We may be able to probe this without any real trouble, if we're lucky." But somehow I doubt it…

IF we're lucky… Photon's thoughts echoed Blink's words. "We should probably get moving, then. Circe, how do you want to handle the catatonic officer?"

"Well, I need to see him as soon as possible, perhaps get some viable information from him. The brain is a strange organ, and noone realy knows what it will do. I'd like to do that before we go into the Sprawl itself, if possible. I should only need an hour or so."

"Okay, then, that's got priority. If we can get some additional information about what happened and who we're up against, before we go into the Sprawl, let's do it." Photon glanced around at the others to see if there were any objections.

Warp waited patiently looking at the various things laid out for them and the things around the office.

"Works for me, Boss Lady." Blink said with a grin. "We need to wait for forensics anyway." Leaning over she whispered to April, "What are you going to do? Field or here in the lab?"

"I want to look over the lab results that are in so far…"April replied.

"For me too, Photon." Circe replied with a sideways look at Blink. "I'd like to start as soon as possible."

"Then let's go."