Monday, November 26, 2018

Chill: Missed Check-In

New Chill case! Woo! (Here's the end of the last one.)

It's been a couple of months since the Boise HQ deal with a poltergeist and a werewolf within a couple of weeks of each other. Some of the envoys are on probation, but Unknown-wise, it's been quiet. A blanket of snow has covered the ranch, and it's still and quiet on the evening of February 8, 2018, and a car pulls up the drive...

A man knocks on the door, and Jordan opens it. The man - wearing a suit, but not an expensive one - asks for Ruth Adams (Dee's niece, and daughter of Eli Adams, Dee's late brother). Jordan lets him in to get warm, and goes out to the stable where Ruth and Mohammed are tending to the horses.

BB, meanwhile, chats with the man, whose name is John Howard. John is a parole officer (and has heard of BB, since BB has a PO, too). But John's not here for BB.

Ruth comes in, and John asks her about someone named Vince Jessup. Jessup was apparently paroled a few days ago and was supposed to come out to the ranch, but hasn't checked in. Ruth says that she talked to him on Monday, but he was going to drop in on an old cellmate and she hasn't heard from him. John nods, and asks if Ruth hears from him to contact him, has a cup of coffee and chats a bit, and then leaves.

Ruth talks with the envoys and explains a little more. Vince Jessup was a SAVE envoy from Nampa, ID, who was arrested for double murder in 2001 and has been in prison ever since. That HQ was lost in the infiltration, but some of the envoys might still be around. Ruth doesn't know who his cellmate was, but she's worried - Jessup knew he was welcome at the ranch and was looking forward to having some work and a place to stay. The envoys decide they'll look into this; the disappearance of a SAVE envoy is always cause for concern.

Jordan calls up some friends on the police force, and with some digging finds that Jessup's first cellmate was a fellow named Franklin Wray. Wray was sent to prison in 1990 for manslaughter, but was paroled not long after Jessup got sent to prison. BB, a bounty hunter, does some digging of his own and finds that Wray broke his parole and hasn't been seen since his release. If Jessup was going to drop in on him, he clearly knew something the authorities didn't.

Jennifer, visiting from Chicago to catch up with BB, decides to help out and does some digging into the HQ's records. She finds an envoy list from the Nampa HQ, but of the six envoys on it, four are dead, one is Jessup, and the last one - Susan Wisnewski - still lives in Nampa. Mohammed calls Susan up and asks her about SAVE; Susan asks to talk to Dee (everyone knows Dee) and then agrees to talk with the envoys, but not on the phone. The envoys pile into an SUV and head to Nampa; it's getting dark, but they know the danger of wasting time.

Susan receives them and gives them cider while they talk. She recalls that the case that led to two envoys dying and Jessup being arrested involved some strange, thin, pale-skinned creature with big eyes. It didn't mind-control people, exactly, but manipulated them and cast illusions. Jordan and BB look at each other knowingly - this sounds a lot like the thing that was haunting the Iowa University campus recently. In any case, apparently it tricked Jessup into shooting his girlfriend and another envoy, and he was sent to prison for it. Franklin Wray had told Jessup (truthfully or not, Susan wasn't sure) that he too was in prison over a bullshit charge, and Jessup had apparently taught him the Art and planned on getting him into SAVE when he was released.

This all makes the envoys uncomfortable, but they aren't sure where to go. They decide to check the court records and to visit the police department and see if they can learn a little more, but that'll have to wait for morning. Susan offers to let them stay; she says she misses this part of SAVE ("but not this part," she says, holding up her left hand and revealing she's missing two fingers).

In the morning, BB and Mohammed head to the police department and talk to a detective. They say that they're trying to find Wray - yeah, it's a cold case, but money's money and there's a bounty on the guy. The detective tells them that Wray was a shithead; he had a history of arrests for stalking, weapons, minor assault, and finally got arrested for "accidentally" shooting Tim Fossly, a guy who lived in his neighborhood. They also talk to his PO, but the guy has been over this ground and doesn't have any good insights.

The others pull some court records and look into Wray's conviction. The prevailing feeling was very much that the killing was deliberate, but no one was sure why. The envoys also, however, find that Tim Fossly's uncle, Gregory Fossly, spoke in court and read his address into the record. He owns a ranch in the middle of nowhere, Oregon.

Not having any other leads, the envoys decide to make the road trip out to the ranch. It's a good 3.5 hours from Boise, and it's really isolated - no towns or hotels within 2 hours' drive. Jennifer stays behind in Boise to act as a point of contact and keep researching (because her player won't be there next time).

And off into the snow they go.