2.16th Precinct SVU Squad room, two days after the Kersey murders.
“How are you feeling this morning,” Olivia asked solicitously as she entered the interview room.
“How are you supposed to feel when you’ve had your family raped and murdered,” Zoe shot back.
The anger and pain in the girl’s voice made Olivia pause for a moment, Zoe Kersey was hurting that was for sure, who wouldn’t be in her situation? But there was something else there, something that made Olivia feel uneasy; she’d seen it in the eyes of other family members who’d had their relatives brutally murdered and it never ended well.
“I expect you feel, hurt, angry, frustrated…guilty?” Olivia pulled out a chair and sat down.
“Yes I feel angry,” Zoe replied in a softer voice, “but that’s no reason to snap at you, you’re just trying to help…so, what can I do for you, Detective Benson?”
“Oh I just have a few questions I need to ask,” Olivia smiled reassuringly, “it won’t take long…do you want anything before we start, coffee? A glass of water?”
“No I’m fine,” there was an edge to Zoe’s voice again, “lets get this done.”
Noticing the sharpness in the girl’s voice, Olivia nodded; obviously Zoe was the kind of girl that wanted to get straight down to business, she’d oblige.
“Okay,” Olivia opened the note book she’d been carrying, “we’ve found no evidence of a Mr Kersey in the apartment, can you tell me where your father is?”
“Arlington military cemetery,” Zoe replied with a soft sigh, “he was killed not long after Carol was born.”
“Army?” Olivia’s hand strayed down to feel the lighter in her pocket.
“Yeah,” Zoe nodded, “the penniless soldier-boy who married the heiress,” for a moment a smile lit up her face, but it soon disappeared, “My father was an army officer he commanded a medical unit…”
“A doctor?” Olivia asked.
“No,” Zoe shook her head, “he was on the admin side, I don’t really remember much about him or what he actually did.”
“Don’t worry,” Olivia reassured her, “we can contact the army if we need to know more, so it was your mother that had the money in the family?”
“Yeah, old money,” Zoe explained and smiled, “slaves, cotton and molasses,” she looked at the expression on Olivia’s face, “something my mother used to say to explain where the family fortune had come from, old money y’know?”
“Is there anyone who’d benefit from your mother’s death?” Olivia wanted to know.
“Only me,” Zoe replied with a shrug, “there were only the three of us left you see, the last of my mother’s relatives died a couple of years ago and I couldn’t tell you anything about my father’s side of the family.” Zoe paused for a moment, “Yeah, so I admit it; I had my mother and my little sister raped and murdered so I could get my hands on the family fortune…”
“Not really,” Olivia pointed out.
“No, not really,” Zoe gave a long, low sigh, “I have a trust fund that will last me until after I finish college then the idea was that I went out to work. Mom didn’t believe in the whole ‘idle rich kid’ thing.”
“So, no one other than you would benefit from your mother’s death?” Olivia reconfirmed.
“Not to my knowledge,” Zoe replied.
“How about people with grudges?” Olivia asked, “Disgruntled employees, an ex-lover anyone like that?”
“Wow!” Zoe gave a bitter laugh, “Ex-lovers, huh? Sorry to disappoint, Detective but my mother lived quietly splitting her time between several charities that she worked for…she liked to keep busy. If she had any ex-lovers I didn’t know about them.”
“Okay,” Olivia looked at the sparse notes she’d made, “if you think of anything…”
“I’ll let you know,” Zoe looked at the door indicating she really didn’t want to be there any more. “Was there anything else?”
“Just one last thing,” Olivia reached into her jacket pocket and brought out the evidence bag containing the lighter, she laid it on the table in front of Zoe, “have you ever seen this before?”
Picking up the evidence bag, Zoe studied the lighter carefully.
“Never seen it before in my life, Detective,” Zoe put the bag and lighter down on the desk and slid it back towards Olivia.
“You’re sure?” Olivia wanted to know.
“Again, unless my mother kept it hidden somewhere, I’ve never set eyes on it before,” Zoe’s eyes remained locked on the lighter until Olivia put it back into her pocket.
“Not a keepsake from your father?” Olivia hinted.
“Not to my knowledge,” Zoe replied.
“Okay, that’s all for now,” Olivia stood up indicating the interview was over, “if you remember anything, however small contact me or Detective Stabler.”
“I’ll do that,” Zoe confirmed, “I want to see these sick bastards caught and punished for what they did to Mom and Carol.” Zoe paused as she moved towards the door, “Honestly Detective Benson, do you think you’ll catch them or him?”
“We’ll try our best,” Olivia shrugged, “we have some good solid clues…”
“I can tell by your tone of voice and body language that you have clues but no suspects,” Zoe resumed her walk towards the door, “you can tell me detective, I’m a big girl just how confident are you of catching whoever did this?”
“It’s still early days,” Olivia hedged.
“Which translates to ‘not much’,” Zoe shook her head sadly as she rested her hand on the back of a chair. “I don’t blame you or your colleagues, you can only work with what you’ve got, I’m betting that any finger prints your CSU guys found aren’t in the system…”
“Ms Kersey,” Olivia said in her professional voice, “we will keep looking, however long it takes…”
“Yes I know you will,” Zoe walked out into the squad room with Olivia at her heels.
“Have you anywhere to stay?” Olivia asked.
“Yes,” Zoe nodded, “I have friends I can stay with, erm…” Zoe looked uncertain, “…I’m thinking of leaving town for a day or two will that be a problem?”
“No…” Olivia replied uncertainly, “…don’t you want to…?”
“Here’s my lawyer’s card,” Zoe passed Olivia a business card, “if you need me for anything he’ll be able to contact me and you should contact him when you release Mom and Carol’s bodies for burial.”
“Okay,” Olivia took the card and glanced at the name of the law firm; she didn’t recognise it so she guessed it was a firm that specialised in business law not criminal, “I’ll keep in touch.”
“Thank-you,” Zoe shook Olivia’s hand and walked across the busy office, through the doors and down the stairs until she was once again out on the busy New York streets.
“How’d it go?” asked the well dressed young woman who was waiting on the sidewalk under an umbrella.
“Okay I suppose,” Zoe shrugged, “it’s fairly obvious they’ve no idea who did it.”
“Whatever,” Kennedy pulled Zoe under the shelter of her umbrella, “lets get out of the rain,” waving her hand in the air she flagged down a passing cab; opening the door for Zoe she let her climb in before joining her on the backseat, “we’ll find whoever did this Zoe,” Kennedy reassured her before turning to the driver and telling him to take them home.
“The police have finger prints, but I can tell they’re no closer to finding whoever did this than they were the night of the murders,” Zoe explained bitterly.
“Give them time,” Kennedy tried to comfort the younger woman.
“Thanks, Miss Kennedy,” Zoe smiled at the woman beside her.
“Think nothing of it,” Kennedy smiled, “one for all and all for one, that’s what I always say.”
“All the same,” Zoe reiterated, “there is one clue the police have that we might find useful.”
“What’s that?” Kennedy wanted to know.
“The police found a lighter in my mom’s bedroom,” Zoe explained, “it wasn’t my mom’s and I don’t remember ever seeing it before so it probably belongs to the perp.”
“Okay,” Kennedy nodded, “anything special about it?”
“Yeah it had one of those military badge things on it,” Zoe said slowly, “what do you know about the 613th Rangers?”
“Nothing,” Kennedy admitted, “but I bet we can find out.”0=0=0=0
“Never guess who I saw get into a cab with Zoe Kersey,” Detective Tutuola asked as he walked into the squad room.
“Who?” Elliot asked as he looked up from his computer screen.
“That society girl…” Tutuola frowned as he tried to remember the young woman’s name, “…y’know?”
‘Fin’ Tutuola was met by the blank stares of his colleagues, he caught a glimpse of President Kennedy’s picture that Munch kept on his desk and it jogged his memory..
“That’s it!” Fin snapped his fingers, “Kennedy what’s-her-name!”
“Kennedy who?” Olivia asked with a smile.
“That rich society girl with a conscience,” Detective Munch announced as he joined the group, “family lives in the Hamptons but she has an apartment in Kings Towers,” there were impressed whistles from both Fin and Elliot; Kings Towers was very exclusive. “When she’s not attending gala openings she finances and helps run a shelter for teenage runaways.”
“Well Zoe did say she had friends to stay with,” Olivia observed, “they’re both from well-off families so I’m not surprised they know each other.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Munch admitted not finding anything suspicious in the fact that two young, attractive, rich women knew each other; in fact it’d be more suspicious if they didn’t!
“Okay did you find out anything new from Zoe?” Elliot asked his partner.
“Nothing,” Olivia shook her head sadly, “couldn’t think of anyone who’d want her mother dead or who would profit by her death.”
“It’s beginning to look like a crime of opportunity,” Munch, who didn’t believe in coincidences, announced. “I checked on the shopping that was found outside the door to the apartment, it was stolen from a market just down the block from the Kersey’s place.” Munch checked some details in his note book, “Mrs Kersey phoned in an order to the market who made it up, but it was stolen before their delivery boy could take it around to the Kersey’s place this would be about six o’clock on the night of the murders.”
“Time of death was between eight and nine,” Fin muttered.
“Gives the perp or perps time to grab the shopping, check the address then go ‘round to the apartment,” Olivia speculated.
“The perp gains access through the service entrance at the back, goes up to the eighth floor…” Elliot continued the line of thinking.
“…and Mrs Kersey opens the door to who she thinks is the delivery boy,” Olivia finished Eliot’s sentence for him.
“Sounds like a viable timeline,” Munch agreed.
“Any luck on that lighter you found?” Olivia asked Elliot.
“Nothing,” Elliot shook his head, “there is a unit called the 613th Independent Ranger Battalion stationed up at Fort Drum, they’re part of 10th Mountain Division, but other than that nothing, can’t even find a unit badge.”
“613th Rangers?” Munch asked slowly.
“Wadda ya know, Munch?” Fin asked ready to hear Munch’s latest conspiracy theory.
“Rumour has it that the 613th is mixed up in some very strange things…” Munch began.
“Like?” Elliot asked.
“I’m not sure,” Munch admitted, “but people in the know say they’re into some ‘very’ black ops, ever heard of the Human Resources Initiative?”
Elliot, Olivia and Fin exchanged knowing glances.
“Whatever,” Munch continued unconcerned by his colleague’s scepticism, “they’re said to work closely with ASID, the Army Special Investigation Division, it’s an off shoot of the army’s Criminal Investigation Division.”
“Apparently,” Olivia said slowly not wishing to admit that Munch might be on to something, “about twelve years ago Mr Kersey was killed or died while he was commanding an Army Medical unit, so there could be a military connection here.”
“Better check,” Elliot agreed as he reached for the phone.
“I’m betting you’ll get nowhere,” Munch said quietly, “this unit is seriously secret, they’ll just stone wall you until you get bored and go away.”
“Look I can try through a few of my old Marine buddies,” Elliot suggested, “the special ops community is pretty small they might know something about these guys even if they are army.”0=0=0=0Later that night.
Turning up the collar of her jacket against the chill, damp air that blew in from the river, Zoe walked along the deserted street as she headed for her bed. She’d gone out on patrol in the hopes of finding a vamp to take her frustrations out on, unusually she’d found nothing to fight. Normally there were enough vampires and demons in New York City to keep New York’s twelve active slayers busy on most nights, but not, it seemed, tonight.
Heading back to Miss Kennedy’s apartment where she was staying until she could move back into her own apartment, Zoe found herself thinking about what she was going to do with the rest of her life now her mom and sister were dead. Up until the murder, Zoe had always thought she’d finish school then go off to college, she’d picked out several that she liked the look of. After college she thought she’d like to have a job in a photographic studio or something; she enjoyed photography and was good at it.
But now…now she wasn’t so sure. Spending her life taking pictures of pouty, thin girls didn’t seem like so much fun anymore. While she’d known that she’d have to spend at least some of her life slaying she’d never thought of it as a career. However, since her mother and sister had been killed she’d been thinking about being a full time slayer more and more. Of course the Reformed Watcher’s Council would insist that she finished her education first, but a career as a full time slayer didn’t seem so bad now, she’d do more good as a slayer than as a photographer. Finding she’d sort of let her mind drift away on thoughts of her future life, Zoe was a little disorientated when she popped back into the world of the now.
“Fine slayer you’ll make letting your mind wonder like that,” she told herself.
Looking up and down the street, Zoe soon found her bearings and smiled, she wasn’t too far off her course. If she went down to the end of the street and turned right it was a ten minute walk to Miss Kennedy’s apartment where she was staying. Shivering slightly in the cold, wet air, Zoe hurried on with thoughts of a hot shower and a snug bed at the forefront in her mind. Coming level with a small park, Zoe hesitated before coming to a halt and facing the darkened little area of grass and bushes.
Although there was maybe one lamppost to illuminated the area, Zoe had no difficulty sweeping the area with her eyes, after all she could see perfectly well in the dark it was part of the ‘slayer package’. She saw a few benches around a small play area with its swings and slides, everywhere looked deserted, no one and nothing was hiding in the bushes that she could see; so, with a sad sigh she turned to continue her journey towards her bed. Not having taken more than a couple of steps, Zoe froze at he sound of a cry; coming to a halt she turned to face the park again and listened very carefully. Another yelp of pain was punctuated by the familiar sound of fists hitting flesh.
“Maybe the vamps are out tonight after all,” Zoe smiled as she moved cautiously towards the noise.
As she got closer it sounded as if someone was getting a really good beating. Working around a large shrub, she started to be able to pick out the voices; two younger voices and one older, all male. Stepping silently around the shrub, Zoe saw what was going on. Two youths, probably in their late teens were beating on this old guy and demanding that he hand over his money. The old guy appeared determined to hold onto his cash even if this meant that he got beaten to death. Chances were the old guy was protecting his pension or something. If he lost it, well, Zoe frowned, by the time social services had dealt with his case and given him some more cash he’d probably have starved to death.
Taking a step towards what could loosely be called a fight (the old guy wasn’t resisting much) Zoe stopped. Slayers weren’t supposed to involve themselves in purely human crimes, what she was supposed to do was take out her cell phone, call the cops and walk away. But she just couldn’t do that, by the time the cops got here the old guy could be dead. Watching as the youths started to kick their victim as he lay on the cold tarmac in a tight ball, Zoe found herself moving quickly and quietly towards the ‘fight’.
Taking one youth by the scruff of his neck she threw him across the play area. The second youth was just starting to realise that the situation had changed in the last second or two when Zoe hit him. A couple of low power hits sent the youth stumbling wide-eyed towards his buddy. Tripping over his friend just as he was picking himself up the two youths fell back onto the tarmac and stared at Zoe in fear and wonder.
“Get outta here unless you want some more!” Zoe spoke in a low and menacing voice, the youths took the hint, scrambled to their feet and ran off into the night.
Turning her attention to the victim, Zoe saw the old man look up at her with gratitude in his eyes, if this strong young woman hadn’t intervened when she had he’d probably be dead by now.
“Look I’ll call the cops,” Zoe pulled out her cell and dialled 911; the guy was bleeding from several cuts on his face and there could be internal injuries.
Giving the operator the location of the park, Zoe closed her phone and crouched down next to the old man.
“Look the cops and paramedics are on there way,” Zoe smiled reassuringly, “I’ve got to go…” she paused, “…I was never here, okay?”
Dumbly the old man nodded as he watched the girl disappear into the night.0=0=0=0