|Claire Redfield||It's early afternoon, round about two, and the lunch traffic has died down at the little cafe/eatery right by the campus. There are a few tables occupied by students returned to school now that the campus has reopened, studying for their finals or just milling about with friends they weren't able to talk to while the weather was poor. One such student sits off by herself with a latte and a half eaten tuna on flatbread. Her laptop is open in front of her and a pair of plastic white framed glasses rests against the bridge of her nose while she types.
Both legs are pulled up beneath her in the seat and there's a drab black rucksack style backpack leaning up against the chair beside her. A pair of buds are stuck in her ears running up the back of her earlobe connected to a smartphone laying on the table. Deadmau5 piping hard hitting techno beats for her while she works on whatever it is that's scrolling constantly across her screen.
|Leon Kennedy||It's kind of a lame first beat, but at least the University has a decent coffee shop. The door swings open, ringing a little bell and letting everyone know to turn and stare at the cop in his uniform. Usually seeing a cop on campus is like, no bueno, but this cop has incredibly nice hair and a photogenic smile. He looks college-aged, too, not that crusty old 'Gimme your donuts' kind of cop. Several pairs of eyes follow his entrance and subsequent stroll across the room to the counter, where he waits in line for a minute or two, hooking his thumbs into his utility belt and just looking around the room. The shiny brass nametag says KENNEDY.|
|Claire Redfield||One set of eyes does not look up at the door when Leon enters, she is busy on her laptop at the time. Then when she finally does glance up, which is to take a sip of her latte, she gives him only a passing inspection and returns to her otherwise focused work. If a cop on campus bothers Claire Redfield she's doing her level best to hide it.|
|Leon Kennedy||Leon doesn't even notice Claire, too busy ordering his coffee. "Yeah, can I just get a cafe americano with an extra shot of espresso?"
"Cream and sugar with that?"
"...no, I'll take it black."
"We have soy and almond milk...?"
"-Just black, please," the officer orders with a patient smile, blinking a few times, his eyes doing their best to hide the aggravation of saying the same thing over and over again. It's not until he moves over to the side to wait for his drink that he sees Claire, who, in Leon-world, is just another college girl on her laptop. Even if she is a cute one. She's not paying attention to him, so he doesn't stare at her like a creeper either.
|Claire Redfield||Claire reaches for her sandwich without looking up from her screen and takes a messy bit of tuna that has her tongue dragging across the corner of her mouth to clean a big glob from her lip. Napkin, mouth, drink, she returns to typing and laughs at something... shaking her head.
Then she stretches and glances around the cafe with a stiffled yawn into the thumb of her fist, once more noticing Leon not looking at her. Or rather noticing how everyone ''is'' looking at him with a little smirk spreading as she pulls the buds from her ears and lets them dangle down her chest, "It's like they've never seen a cop before. Wanna sit?"
|Leon Kennedy||"Here you are, sir," the barista chirps, passing across his drink in a short paper cup with a cardboard sleeve that swallows it whole.
"Thanks," Leon replies, giving the stubby vessel a disapproving glance and turning to walk away, but then he turns back to the counter to protest the label of 'tall' until he thinks better of it again and decides to just go. It's around this point in his shopping experience that Claire greets him, and his attention swings that way.
It only takes a second to size her up, a petite, attractive girl perched on a chair with a tuna salad sandwich and a glowing laptop. "Hi." His eyes move from the sandwich to the laptop to her face, then down to the earbuds, back up to her face. "Weird, considering how many officers are in the city," is his amused response, flashing her a charismatic grin. "I guess I do, if you don't mind."
|Claire Redfield||Claire unfolds one of her legs to push the chair across from her out. She's wearing a pink shirt that reads, ''Too cute for Satan'' and a vomit green beanie over her short brown hair. Apparently she's taking full advantage of the change in weather to get her proto-hipster fashion on. "Yeah, you're at a college campus." She says with a shrug and a sip from the latte beside her. "If you wanted the red carpet treatment, you picked a crap beat."
Once he's sitting down, she reaches over the top of her laptop, "Claire Redfield." There's a STARS member named Redfield, unless Leon has had his head buried in the sand... not that anyone would blame him. He's probably been busy. "Aren't you a little short to be a stormtrooper?"
|Leon Kennedy||Before the hipsters, there was Redfield. Leon takes the proffered chair, arranging himself so that nothing on his police utility belt is poking into it too badly and then leaning forward to shake her hand over the laptop, which puts off a radiant glow of heat. "Leon Kennedy." The Redfield family name rings no bells. He's new. He's had a lot of paperwork. Things are crazy at the station. "I guess I could stay closer to the criminal justice building if I need adoring fans," he jokes, putting his cup to his lips experimentally to gauge the heat and deciding to wait on that for a minute. The question draws a chuckle. "I'm not here to rescue you, either."|
|Claire Redfield||Claire snorts quietly, "Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly where you should go for ''fans''." Her hand retracts and her foot is pulled back up beneath her. She has a thin jacket hanging on the seat behind her with a little leather strap just visible that might well belong to a shoulder holster. "You're new huh?" Sipping her drink and leaning back after pushing pause on her new fangled, super hitech, probably one of a kind smartphone. Most people are still rocking the motorola Razr. "Well that's good, you're probably not rescuing my plumeting fanbase by hanging out with me either.. so it's good to stay consistant."|
|Leon Kennedy||The talk about 'fanbase' and all that is just confusing to Leon, so he takes the statements one at a time, a nimble thumb popping the lid off of his coffee so that it can cool faster. "I'm new, yeah. Been here... three weeks now? Something like that. Right around the time the stuff with the wild animals started going down, and then the dog attacks." It's fairly well-known news around town at this point, so it's not like he's spilling government secrets or anything. They're just having a conversation. "...what's your fanbase? What do you do? Are you trying to get big on the YouTube or something?" Look at him, keeping up with the newest web trends.|
|Claire Redfield||"On the youtube?" Claire repeats that with her eyes hooding and a smirk forming, "What ae you like forty?" She shakes her head and her latte, "No, I'm not trying get big on the Youtube... I'm a blogger..." She says with a little shrug, "I have a few fllowers keeping an eye on my updates, but mostly it's just conspiracy theory crap.." Her sandwich is eyed, but she doesn't reach forit. "Did you run into any of the wild animals?" She ask by wa of changing the subject since that's not appropriate lunch coversation with a cop.|
|Leon Kennedy||"Yeah, the YouTube," Leon insists, smiling and leaning back in his chair. "That new video sharing site that started a few months ago. I saw some guy at the zoo. I don't know why I'm supposed to care that he was there, but he looked like he was having a good time. Elephants and whatnot." That is a really strange thing to say, Leon, but thank you for adding that to the conversation. "You blog? What's your handle? I could use some good reading material when there's nothing good on TV." No DVR. The dark ages. "I haven't yet," he answers her question cheerily, shrugging. "But I know what a .40 will do to a groundhog and I'm not too worried about these things."|
|Claire Redfield||"Hey, I'm pretty excited about he concept..." Claire points out of youtube, "It's going to change the way information is shared and desemenated to the masses.." She continues after anther drink, "instead of being fed pre-processed ''news'' through the usual media, the people themselves will become the source... it's going to revolutionize content sharing on a global scale." Now that she too has added her two cents, she looks down at her keyboard, "The redblogger...." Squinting a litle, "You shot a groundhog wit a .40? Jesus man..." Another drink of latte, "Jesus..."|
|Leon Kennedy||"Just a handgun," Leon clarifies, in case she's thinking of something bigger. "That's what we carried at the Academy, too." After another experimental test, he takes a sip of coffee, content it's not going to burn his mouth with the white hot intensity of black magma. "As long as it doesn't turn into one giant video of some tween's cat, I mean," he adds, back on the YouTube. The YouTube! "I don't want to assume, but I'm assuming you're a student here? And with that blog. Have you heard anything weird about this stuff? Because there is definitely something weird about this stuff." He sits back in his chair, shaking his head. "The reports don't add up. It's not rabies, I'll tell you that right now."|
|Claire Redfield||"A .40 handgun.. on a groundhog. Poor, defenseless, groundhog." Claire cants her head a litle at Leon, "You're going to fit right in at RPD with all the other meatheads." Including hr brother, apparently. She's still grinning, however and craddling her drink in the curve of her lap. "Yeah, journalism. Which is just a creative way of saying I want to starve when I graduate." And she's only joking a little bit.. When the cop mentions things being fishy, however, she frowns a little and shrugs, "You see one of them up close? The dogs I mean.. or any of the animals really." She sets her drink aside, "People who have seen them up close, a lot of my followers even, have been posting some pretty screwed up pictures to some of he forum boards I monitor."|
|Leon Kennedy||"They get in the-" Leon starts to explain at her clear bewilderment at why anyone would ever shoot a groundhog, but then she's calling him a meathead. "I'm not a /meathead/, I just know how to use a gun." And evidently makes frequent visits to the gym. And probably plays Call of Duty. Dammit he's a meathead. "But I read books, and /blogs./" Like hers. "What was your blog again?" He's pulling out his police notebook to jot it down.|
|Claire Redfield||"Yeah, meathead." Claire snots a litle, having sized Leon up almost as quickly as he did her, "The redblogger.. do you need me to spell that for you?" She teases him, clearly unphased by his badge in the slightest. "You know Star Wars references, though.. so you're probably not ''all'' bad." Leaning back in hr seat, eyes drifting down ther scree for a second. She quickly types somthing with fingers blazing over the keys and looks back up to Leon, "Anyways, I hope you have a strong stomach. There are some links off my blog to others, some of them have video photage and still photos of a few ''wild animals''."|
|Leon Kennedy||"No, I was a champion in the 6th grade spelling bee," Leon replies blithely, scrawling down 'the redblogger' in his notepad before he flips it closed and looks back up to her, flipping his hair back a little in the process. That curtain cut with all its natural glory gets in the way of seeing sometimes. "They got video? They wouldn't even let /us/ see the video." The internet, man, it's changing everything. "How fast is your download speed? It'll take me an hour to download anything at my place."|
|Claire Redfield||Claire snorts atthe second questoin, "Depends on who's asking..." She says, casually glancing at his badge, "If it's Officer Kennedy.. a coupl megabytes a second.. T1 cables in the Campus library..." Her eys twinkle a little, "But iff it's Leon Kennedy, mild mannered young man having a coffee near the campus..." She motions to her laptop, a small black box near her cellphone that looks an awful lot like mobile modem, "I'm piggy backing off three server hives running fiberoptic T3 lines... I could download Debbie Does Dallas in a little over a second and still have enough andwidth to upload my five hundred word critic complete with gifs..."|
|Leon Kennedy||"...at the risk of sounding like a meathead, I understood about three words of that," Leon admits, staring at the little black box. "That little thing does /all that?/" The man himself is barely one step better than dial-up at his cheap-ass apartment downtown. "My service only goes five hundred K per second," he relates, wrenching his gaze away from the box o' wonder. "Where did you get that?"|
|Claire Redfield||Claire glances at the box and shrugs, "It does if you know hw to use it..." She counters, "I wrote a program that... should I be teling you this? No, I should not be telling you this..." She smirks and looks at her phone, then back up at Leon, "They sell them if you know where to buy them. I call it a ''black box''." Anyways, she leans forward and stats typing on the keyboard of her laptop, waving one hand for Leon to come around and take a look, "Here, I'll show you some of the more tme pictures."
Tame being a loose term at best.
The image that comes up is taken on a grainy cellphone camera, but it's still very clearly a half decayed squirrel clinging to the side of a tree wit its teeth bared, "And that's not even the good quality stuff..."
|Leon Kennedy||Leon abandons his coffee cup, his notebook, and his nice, write-in-the-rain pen, pushing the chair back with a little 'skrrrk' and coming around quickly to see what's on the laptop screen. "How are you on the Internet from here?" There's no wires! "...is that a squirrel?" The handsome officer squints at the image, leaning in closer over her shoulder. "That's a squirrel. What the hell. That's some rigor-mortis type crap." A vague finger points but doesn't touch. "Does it get worse?"|
|Claire Redfield||Claire nods at her phone, "Wifi hotspot..." She says up to Leon with a quirk of her brow, "Let me guess, you still type out http?" She shakes her head and brings up other images, some of them are indeed far worse. Videos, some of it varying quality, all of it silent since her speakers are turned off, show packs of wild dogs attacking checkpoints where black clad paramilitary forces hose them down with the kind of weaponry one expects in a warzone. There's no definitive IDs on their clothing or if there is, the quality of the video makes it difficult to see.
It's obvious people who were holed up during the storm were keeping their cameras turned on, specifically younger people. "Most of this stuff has already been debunked by ''reputable'' scientists working for Umbrella shell corperations." How does she know that?
She doesn't explain.
"I'm not saying any of it is real, it could just be elaborate hoax footage, but..." She doesn't seem dubious of the material, point of fact, she has the look of a believer. "I've seen a lot of this stuff up close... and way worse than this.." Like infected humans, but she's not getting into it in public. They're already starting to draw attention as is.
|Leon Kennedy||It's 2005 and Leon is not a tech early adopter. "I thought that only works on Blackberries." Then the videos start playing. He watches in silence as hordes of dogs charge the paramilitary officers, who in turn, gun them down. "This isn't fake, that can't be fake. It doesn't look fake at /all./ There's no Hollywood productions in Raccoon right now, are there?" That's a thought, maybe this is some sort of viral marketing campaign. He frowns, still hovering over her shoulder to stare at the screen, but quieting down as he starts to notice that the eyes turning their way aren't just the usual looks from girls who want to know what shampoo he's using. "...How did you know that stuff about Umbrella? Is all this on your blog?" His voice is lower now, hushed.|
|Claire Redfield||"It was." Claire says with a glance over the top of her computer, "So I set up a second account and debunked my findings.. said I was a ''weeb'' who used photoshop to create my evidence and started posting exclusively about ''other'' sites posting about this stuff... kind of a go between for the anonymouse masses since my name was all over the account anyways." Basically being the public switch board for the unnanmed masses. "Now people send their photage to me and I verify it through several programs I wrote... test things like pixel quality, atmopheric filters.. anything someone would use to create a fake.." She glances up at Leon and shrugs.
"The redblogger is just a conspiracy theory blog run by a college student.." Which means there's probably another site, one that's a lot more secure. "People weren't being told what was going on, so I started looking for the ones trying to and collected all their content so it's distributed to a wide audience in easier to access format." She basically does exactly what Youtube is doing, just for crazy pictures of rotten dogs.
She mmms quietly and shakes her head, "A good journalist never gives out her sources.. just take my word for it, the U is involved."
|Leon Kennedy||"The U? The university?" No, Umbrella, you idiot. "Oh, Umbrella." Leon's finally drifting back to his chair now, settling into his seat so that he can let all of this process. A quick hand latches onto his coffee cup, outrageously small, and drains about a quarter of it in one long, overdue swig. Then he's flipping open his notepad again to take some of this down for follow-up later.
On the page, above 'the redblogger', he writes 'weeb' and draws a line between them, with 'photoshop' tagged under that.
The officer glances up from his pad. "...what did you say your name was again?"
|Claire Redfield||"I didn't." She did, "Don't write this shit down... are y-..." Claire glances around at the shop and leans towards Leon, "You saw those guys right? The ones shooting the shit out of a pack of dogs with light machine guns and Assault carbines?" She shakes her head a little and starts collecting up her things, unplugging her phone and the magic box, all of it getting stuffed down into her jacket. "Don't be stupid, officer Kennedy. People like that don't give a shit if you're wearing a badge." She's whispering, glancing around now at the people in the coffee shop, mentally kicking herself for getting excited and speaking so candidly about everything.
"Just... be smart." Last is her laptop, shoved into the bag, some of the other content visible probably indicate she could live for at least a few days based entirely on what she has on her ''right now''.
|Leon Kennedy||"Yes you did," Leon argues, "it was Claire Red... something." And then she's getting up and getting her things and getting ready to go after correcting him for being thorough. His face settles into a frown, still managing to look photogenic, as he tucks his pad and pen away into his pocket. He can't help but catch a glimpse of the supplies peeking out of her backpack, either. "Why are you carrying all that-" he starts to ask, but she's clearly not in the mood to answer his questions. "Look, Claire." Sharp blue eyes catch for hers, his mouth twitching into a sympathetic smile while he drops his voice low enough for the quiet bustle of the coffee shop to cover his words. "I'm sorry, I'm kind of being an idiot here. I just feel the same way you do, that there's something big going on here, and it's my job-" he pauses, and corrects that to "it's my /mission/ to keep people safe from this kind of shit, and I got a little too excited, maybe. I'd like to talk with you about it again, when I'm not, you know. On the clock."|
|Claire Redfield||"No, you only think you feel the same way I do, but you are wrong..." Claire says in a hard whisper, "because if you did, you wouldn't be sitting here still trying to ask me about it." She will never deny that he's charming or that he has a face for television, but once she's got her things shoved into that bag, she grabs her jacket and throws it on over her shoulders. He would have to be blind, or the worst cop ever, not to see the big ass magnum tucked into the shoulder holster inside the jacket. People aren't close enough, but he's ''right there''.
"If you want to help people, start digging... but don't write any of it down. Don't post it on your myspace... I want you to take a hard look at what happened a few weeks ago and the surprisingly sparce amount of ''information'' floating around across public lines, including the Police department. I want you to take a look at campaign funds for the mayor and his subordinates..."
The bag is slung up on her shoulder, "Once you've done that, I want why there was a huge explosion up in the mountains when there's supposedly ''nothing up there''.." She slaps money down on the table, a tip for the waitress staff, "Once you've done that, then you'll feel the same as I do... right now, you're just a cop." Starting towards the exit, "Seeya around Officer Kennedy."
|Leon Kennedy||"Thaaaat's not legal," Leon mutters quietly to himself as Claire starts to leave. He means the magnum she's toting around, of course, since she practically shoved it in his face, but instead of making a big stink and taking her downtown or something, he just stands there clicking the end of his pen. Click click click. The explosion in the mountains. The official story about how it's all just 'rabies'. The way the pictures are being suppressed. Click click click. Silently, he retakes his seat at the table, alone now, to stare thoughtfully down at the Formica, sipping on what little remains of his coffee.|
|Claire Redfield||Claire hears him, but she's not stopping now. Her hackles are all raised and she's embarassed that she let a charming face drop her guard in public. No telling who might have been watching or what they listened in on. Outside she looks up and down the street and checks the time on the front of her phone... still another two hours before her meeting. A little frown creases her forehead as she makes her way towards her motorcycle parked along the curb and slips on after securing her bag to the rear of the long seat. She spares one more glance inside, frowns a little deeper, and storms back in with a ding of the bell above the door. "Against my better judgement..." She takes his clicky pen and writes her number down on a napkin, drops both in front of him.
"For when you're not just a cop anymore." Then she's headed back outside, adjusting her beanie.
|Leon Kennedy||And suddenly Claire is back inside, with her adorable little beanie perched on her head and writing her number on a napkin. "Thank you," he calls after her, snatching up the scrap of flimsy paper and folding it in half to shove into his notepad, turning this time to watch through the large glass windows as she stalks to her motorcycle and kicks the starter. Walking up to the counter, he pulls out a five and hands it to the barista. "Next time she comes in, bill's on me."
"Sir, this isn't a bar-"
"Bill's on me," he repeats, scribbling 'CLAIRE' in the margin of the bill and pressing it back towards the barista. "Personal favor for me?" His smile lights up the room like the sun coming over the trees.
"...alright, you got it."
Then he's headed out the door, popping the door open on his Crown Vic squad car and pulling out the radio. "Yeah, officer Kennedy, checking in, over."
"Solid copy, Kennedy, everything looking alright over at the University today?"
He pauses in thought for a moment. "Yeah, everything's quiet over here, sarge, over and out."