Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chill: Voices

Sunday was Chill. Check it. You know, or don't. You do you.

Last time, the envoys opened their investigation into a killing on the University of Idaho campus. We open today with Dee and Dylan at the vet, and Jordan and BB heading back into town from the ranch. The envoys meet up for brunch so that Dee can get day-drunk, but they also decide that they should head back to campus, look at the steam plant, maybe try and get a sense of what's happening a bit more. They stop at a church near the university and Dee (now more than a little tipsy) asks the priest about whether he's heard of increased violence at the university. He says he hasn't - sure, there will always be tragedy, but it's not abnormally bad out there, apart from the young man who was just killed (Mendoza) or the student who committed suicide last year.

This isn't the first time the envoys have heard this mentioned, so Dylan does a bit of quick research. The guy's name was Sidney Bass, and he jumped off the Gym Tower. The articles at the time state that he had dealt with depression since high school and was on medication for it; some of the editorials talked about the link between certain psych meds and suicidal ideation. The envoys note that Bass was a member of the Delta Tau Delta frat - no immediate connection to Mendoza, then.

They head back onto campus, and climb Gym Tower to see where he jumped. There's a dried-up bouquet of flowers, but no evidence and no Unknown. They check the base of the tower, too - if Bass has returned as a ghost, they don't see any evidence of that. They head back over toward Greek Row to ask at his old frat house, and are met with crowds and first responders. Last night another student was murdered - Stacy Diaz.

The envoys are a bit shaken by this (Jordan especially, who winds up with a Minor Trauma), but they resolve to try and figure this out. Jordan goes to the hospital and tracks down an EMT buddy and buys him lunch, and he tells her that the kid's head was bashed in with something heavy and with defined edges - probably a brick. They found Stacy's body in a ditch, between Greek Row and the dorm where he lived. The EMT mentions that Stacy had some defensive wounds, so he probably got a good lick in before he died.

The envoys check the area. It's wide open, but at night it would be completely unlit - not a bad area for an ambush. They can see the dorm, Greek Row, and Morrill Hall (a small classroom building). Dylan and BB check out the DTD frat house and rouse a member, who tells them that the chapter president (Doug Campbell) is away at class. Sensing that they're being fed BS, Dylan and BB go to Dylan's office to look up Doug's schedule. On the way, they pass Morrill Hall, and BB notes a pile of bricks - some light construction going on here, and probably that's where someone got a murder weapon.

Dylan finds Doug's schedule, but by the time he does (slow computer system), Doug should already have left class. The envoys regroup and go back to the DTD house, hoping to find Doug there. Dee brings a couple of pies and her now casted and somewhat doped up dog.

Two frat boys are in evidence, the somewhat slow one from before (Jason) and a much sharper guy named Ben. Jason doesn't say much at all, but Ben is adept at deflecting questions and saying nothing while still talking (he's pre-law). The envoys noticed multiple pairs of shoes by the door; someone else is here. BB checks the bathroom, and finds a bottle of pills with Sidney's name on it (which he pockets), and paper towels with blood on them in the garbage - looks like someone cleaned up a cut.

Jordan slips upstairs and finds Doug's door. She knocks and opens it, surprising Doug. He's sitting on the bed, perhaps pretending he's not home, and he's got a nasty black eye and a cut on his cheek. She leaves him be and goes back downstairs - it looks like Doug killed Stacy, but why?

Dee gets Jason in the kitchen and tries to get him talking. She senses the Unknown and realizes it's all over the place, but it's more like a bunch of echoes just bouncing around - not a solid, specific presence. Jason zones out, and then starts answering much faster. His speech patterns are different, and Dee notices it. She asks who she's really talking to, and Jason seems confused by the question.

Reasoning that Doug is really the problem, Dee and BB go upstairs to get him, figuring that if Dee can't talk him down, BB can punch him. They smell smoke, though, and BB kicks in the door to reveal the room burning. They head downstairs and evacuate the house, and the firefighters put out the blaze with minimal damage. By now, more of the frat has arrived, and the envoys see Jason, Ben, and two new folks named Joey and Dave talking heatedly. Jordan, ever the picture of subtlety, confronts them, and it's Joey who breaks.

He reveals that it was supposed to be a prank - someone was supposed to swap out one of Sidney's pills, since missing one just made him weepy and morose for a day or so. But all four of them did it, and Sidney killed himself. Joey reveals that someones he hears a voice telling him things, but it doesn't sound like Sidney...it doesn't even sound human. And then he has dreams, too, dreams of falling and dying.

The envoys arrange for all of the frat to come stay at the ranch. They figure that'll let them keep the boys under surveillance and out of harm's way. They have Darnell bring a bus down to get them, and then they start focusing on Doug. BB tracks him away from the house, but loses the trail as it gets into the heart of campus. They can see the steam plant up ahead, though...