Closed RP Cold Case

This RP is currently closed.



Phoenix walked in wide circles around the crime scene. It had been a while since the scene had been discovered, but not long enough that crime scene cleaners had come through. Apparently, someone had eventually reported it due to the smell. Which, Phoenix could understand. It smelled terrible inside the building, like rotting biomatter. Which, given the place was covered in gore, would be a reasonable assumption.

The newspapers had called the scene another of the “Slasher Murders”. She was embarrassed to admit that it hadn’t occurred to her for a few days to start looking into missing people's cases or crime scenes with no bodies, but once she had, it hadn’t been hard to find the “Slasher Murders”. They had started just a little while before Sam had moved to Pittsburgh and correlated with the amount of time Todd said he’d been in the city. Honestly, once she knew what she was looking for, it was easy to find.

She sighed as she crouched next to the blood pools, thick and dried and awful in scent. Her boyfriend was a messy eater, it seemed. While there was blood everywhere, there wasn’t any viscera or meat or even bone shards. She remembered then him cracking the rib bones at their first lunch together, eating them whole. So he ate every part of the body then. No waste.

At least if he had to eat people, he was doing it with some level of… respect wasn’t exactly the word she was looking for. She wasn’t sure what word she was looking for. She had done some math in the last few days. And if her math was correct, and the number of bodies lined up, then she had been off in her initial guesses. Todd had to eat once a month, at least, and had likely done so for the last sixteen, almost seventeen years.

That was a long time, but it was better than what she had initially assumed. At least his parents hadn’t been feeding him humans as an infant.

Her examination of the scene had brought a few things to light. She recognized Todd’s shoeprints in the blood. That was the most important thing. That was the thing taht made it clear to her he had been there. At first, she hadn’t been sure, but Todd’s shoe size combined with how narrow his feet were– well, it was hard to mistake them.

It was while she was kneeling next to the crime scene that she felt vibrations begin to approach the warehouse. Footsteps by the feel of it. Light, even footsteps. Likely a woman or a man of small stature. Sam quickly leaped and propelled herself into the air, and up to the rafters. She gripped it tight and swung herself up on top of it. Hopefully from up here, whoever was coming wouldn’t spot her.​
It matched with previous cases.

The Slasher Murders. That's what they'd been calling it, both in the media circus around it and internally at the Pittsburgh PD. Those sorts of names usually went hand in hand. Someone would coin it, it would spread, and before you knew it, nobody remembered it as anything else. Naming things gave them solidity. Meaning.


Basilica stepped into the empty warehouse, eyes scanning the puddles of congealed blood splattered across the floor, the windows, the doors - but pausing before turning to the rafters above.

"I know you're up there." the hero tilted her head, catching the stifled breath, the creak of metal. "I'd recommend coming down and introducing yourself before I start to think you're a threat."

There was a moment of silence as the woman called out her demand. And then, in a soft but confused voice, Sam’s voice echoed down from the high rafters of the building.


Sam stood, and then flipped forward. She pushed herself out far enough to avoid landing in the crime scene, and far enough to get her close to the glass woman. She gave a small and fast compression of heat from beneath her feet, and when she landed, it seemed effortless. Before, when she had left the woman behind at the bank, she had stayed a good five or six feet away from her, to prevent her from feeling Sam’s heat. She did so again here.

“What are you doing– are you looking into the Slasher Murders?”

She took a few steps between them, one hand on her hip and the other casual and relaxed at her side. She looked the woman over and caught sight of the cast on her arm. She stared at it for a moment before looking back up at the mask the woman wore to hide her identity. It made Sam almost miss her previous mask, the one that hid the contours of her face so much better than this plain black domino mask she wore now. She remembered how to make the masks, so maybe… maybe a new mask was on the table.

After all, she was acting more publicly again. And the more she had to interact with people like Basilica, the more she liked the idea of a mask that actually obscured her to more than cameras. Maybe something with wings, like– like Alice’s mask had been.​
Basilica let out an obvious sigh of relief, body relaxing.

"Phoenix. You know, hiding in the shadows near a recent crime scene does not give the best impression."

Still, she offered the vigilante a tight - but friendly - smile, before moving over to the body. Or, at least, what was left of it. She couldn't even be certain if there was one victim or multiple.

"I hope you didn't get into anything." She knelt down beside a long streak of blood across the concrete floor and frowned. "The police should be here within the hour to cordon the area off and take samples. I'm just making sure the evidence stay untouched until then."

Rising to her feet, she rubbed idly at her cast.

"This has been going on for quite a while. You're a native, what's your take? Certainly metahuman in nature. Victims they'd been able to ID are drug dealers, murderers, gang members. Vigilante MO, or just people getting caught up in the wrong crowd?"

Sam was quick to readopt her mask of Phoenix after her surprise at Basilica being there. She looked at the crime scene, the dry and flaking blood, the bent and destroyed metal, and she tried not to swallow. She let her eyes take on that cool look that made her expressions unreadable, but adopted a friendly smile.

“So I take it you all also just found the scene? By my estimations, I think this took place about two or three months ago. Lab results will be able to confirm the right time of age of the blood, though.” She paused, then shook her head slightly. “I wasn’t trying to hide. Well, I was. But mostly because I didn’t know who you were. I wanted to make sure you were an officer before I revealed myself.”

She looked up at Basilica, taking in her broken arm. She didn’t comment on it, but her amber eyes rested on it for a few moments. Then she searched Basilica’s face, as though looking for something before finally sighing and gesturing wide with her hands. “I’m not really a native. I recently moved here. I don’t know if you’ve heard the name Wildcat before, but I used to be her. I was headed– somewhere. But I ended up here instead and stayed. As for this being a vigilante MO…”

She scratched her head like she was thinking. And she was thinking. Internally she was rushing to think of the best lie, the best way to pull suspicion away from Todd, even though he was yet to become a suspect. But if she threw her off a vigilante, then there was less suspicion. It was less likely to fall on “Cryptid”. She had to lie and just hope that Basilica didn’t have a vibe checker of her own.

“Metahuman, definitely. But I don’t know if it’s a vigilante. All of the others I’ve met have had strict no-kill policies, like me. With one exception, but he was a bastard and I would hesitate to call him a ‘vigilante’. Like you said, this has been going on for a while now. Before I arrived. But I have a particular interest in this.”

She was being far more honest than she should have. She knew that. But the more trust she could build with the woman the more likely she could protect Todd. That was her main goal now. She looked around the scene again. Bloody pools starting to flake, bloody clothes off in a corner, bent and fucked up metal– god, was Nat here? She suppressed the wince that she wanted to make and instead kept the friendly smile and blank eyes.​
Wildcat. Well, that was a bit of a deep cut. Deep, and unexpected.

"Weren't you in O- hm. Nevermind."

One more mystery to the Pittsburgh pile. Seemed metas were just drawn to the place. Rubbing at the bridge of her nose - pushing her mask slightly in the process - she turned to the scene. It had been a while since the murder, obviously. Phoenix said a few months. Forensics would get a better estimate, once they arrived, but in the meantime, it was a little horrifying to consider how many scenes like this were hidden all over the city. The Slasher victim count was impossible to estimate.

"I'm not going to rule it out. For every good guy with a gun, you have a bad guy who thinks he's good. No regulation or oversight, anything is impossible."

Noticing the clothes, she moved over, kneeling down beside them and gently poking at the pile.

"Doubt the killer made the victim strip. These are just as torn up and bloody as the body must be, wherever it is." She glanced over her shoulder. "Any sign of it, when you were poking around? And - why the interest, if you don't mind me asking?"

Phoenix had looked up and let her eyes follow Basilica as the woman moved to the clothing. She was right– they were shredded in places and bloody. Likely from Todd fighting with his bagh nakh. Whoever this was must have put up a bit of a fight. Either that or they had been shredded in the process of stripping the body. She felt her stomach roll over as the dreaded question came. Now came the time when she would have to give the truth, something that made her very nervous. If she gave away too much, Todd could be tracked.

She had done her research on the Slasher. Sometimes called the Scarecrow. That name had made her smile. It was far closer than Slasher. She had traced his possible path, and he had been connected to several cases across the country. Starting in California and then traveling north and then east all the way to Montana. She remembered him saying that he had come from that way. In Montana, he was suspected of having killed Phantom Ox, a vigilante who had been operating in the Billings area

At the same time that Phantom Ox had disappeared, a missing persons case for Arlo Baker had been issued, and many people suspected they were the same person, and likely were killed by the Slasher. Cryptid was a known ally of Phantom Ox, and when he disappeared, people had thought the Slasher had gotten him too until he reappeared south of Montana. People had also written on the forums about how strange it was that the two had worked together, given Cryptid’d had an almost ninety-nine percent lethality rate. But working with Phantom Ox had mellowed him out.

But Sam knew the truth. Phantom Ox had walked in on Cryptid eating, and he attacked, and Cryptid killed him in self-defense. Todd had killed Arlo Baker in self-defense from his best friend. God, she couldn’t imagine how much that must have hurt.

But after that, she had been surprised to learn, that Cryptid had been spotted in Columbus– at the same time that she had been there. Granted,m it was during the period when she had been in and out of state tracking down Slate sects. So maybe it wasn’t all that surprising that she hadn’t run into him sooner.

Phoenix had never known Breeze, but she had heard about her disappearance. She hadn’t known the girl, who was later suspected to be Summer Kelley, a young girl who was on her way to college. It was the first major female victim of the Slasher and had been big talk in Columbus after it had happened. There were a few other sparse female victims, but Breeze, Summer, was the biggest one.

But how much could she tell Basilica of this without her suspecting anything? Breeze was clearly the best reason. She didn’t have to get into any of her tracking. Claiming it was because of Breeze would be enough. So she sighed heavily, as though it was painful to discuss and she said in a soft voice, one that could easily be taken as mourning, “I knew Breeze. She was a friend of mine. I was supposed to start training her, really training her, and then. Well. You probably heard about her murder.”

She walked over to where Basilica kneeled and knelt next to her. She had a faraway look in her eyes, one that looked for all the world like she was lost in memory when really she was channeling the despair she had felt at Witch’s death. It felt… dirty. But it was what it was. And what it was was necessary. “After Summe– Breeze died, I had some business I needed to take care of in Philly. Instead, my car broke down here and I heard that the Slasher was here. So I stayed. I’m going to find that fucker.”

Her heart was beating smoothly. She had to keep it even, keep her breathing even, because she had no idea how Basilica’s powers worked. She touched the ground and given they were close, she should’ve been able to catch the speed, the tempo, of her heartbeat as it traveled through the cement floor.

For the final touch, she thought of Obsidian. She thought of what he had done, what he had stolen from her, and in a voice filled with an almost holy wrath, she said, “I’m going to find that fucker and tear him apart with my bare hands. I’m going to rip his still-beating heart from his chest and burn it before his very eyes.”

Then she looked back up and gave Basilica a wry smile, “Metaphorically, of course.”
"Of course," Basilica replied coldly, not smiling. She didn't seem to find the comment very funny.

Or perhaps she could hear the edge in it, misdirected as it was.

"I'd like to remind you, Phoenix, that even with the frankly unprecedented liberties vigilantes have been allowed in this city, that extrajudicial murder is still very much illegal." She rose up from the ground, brushing off her tights and giving a final look around at the scene. "Which is why no matter the motivations of this Slasher, they are a criminal, and they must be stopped."

She turned to Phoenix, eyes unreadable beneath the glass visor, lips thin and taut. Then - a slight softness. A shift. A frown, a tilt of the head. Barely perceptible, but there.

"I know how personal cases can feel. I know it can seem like nobody cares except for you. Like - the process is cold, informal, and that nobody is trying. That they're just going through the motions." Basilica placed a hand on the woman's shoulder and squeezed. "You don't need to make this a personal mission - that'll only cloud your judgement, and end up putting yourself at risk. I think it'd be best if you let me handle this from here."

Her voice fell to a gentle whisper.

"I promise you, I'll do everything I can to find them. Alright? For Breeze."

Phoenix froze, though did so in the way you fell still when you were thinking, and not the way you did when you realized you had royally fucked up. She rose alongside Basilica, and she sighed, her black lips parting slightly on the exhale. She let her golden eyes catch where Basilica’s should have been. She let the hardness around her eyes soften a touch, and she let the sadness of Witch flood back in.

“I know what you mean. I’m close to this. Really close. But I made a promise to Mrs. Ke– her mother. I made a promise to her mother that I would do everything in my power to figure this out and take care of it.” She paused, the edges of her eyes hardening again, although the wry smile returned.

“I don’t plan to kill him. Kick the shit out of him, maybe. But I don’t plan to kill him. I don’t do that anymore. I haven’t for– a while. Since I took up the name Phoenix. It was meant to be me rising from the ashes of what I had become, you know? So I don’t do that anymore. I won’t kill him. I’d… I’ll let you handle it, but I would appreciate it if you would let me help.”

She crossed her arms and turned her body fully toward Basilica, her face pulling into a look of thoughtfulness. It was real thoughtfulness. Real, in that she had just had an idea, and with that idea, a new thing to sell. She unfolded her arms and put them on her hips, a gesture of openness. She was hoping to compensate for the next lie with open and easy body language. She relaxed her shoulders, lifted a hand, and waved it as she spoke, allowing a nearly genuine smile to come to her face.

“I think that I’m onto his case. I think he might be a member of a terrorist organization I’ve been trying to take down as well. The reason I was going to Philly in the first place was to deal with Slate. And I think that the Slasher might be a member of Slate. They’re all about metahuman supremacy, and they killed– Well, that doesn’t matter. What matters is I think he’s one of them. I’ve noticed some connections to locations.”

Her eyes looked genuinely sad as she stopped herself from speaking of Witch, the same kind of sad she had previously displayed for Breeze. At the very least, she was consistent.​
"Phoenix - it's alright. I understand."

Basilica gave a sympathetic smile. However, as the girl spoke on, her expression shifted, from a moment of surprise, to the stony stoicness once more. She let the silence hang for a few moments afterwards before she replied.


It was a name she'd seen, once or twice. Not much information - but enough to recognize.

"Weren't they supposed to be in Philadelphia? Phoenix, are you sure they're here?"

Her mind was racing. Things made sense, now. Reckless to jump to conclusions, but - Kosuke's lack of identity and paranoia. Lament. The concert attack. The Slasher. The attack on the councilman. Was the Chromewrecker incident tied to it too? So many metahuman crimes happening in Pittsburgh. So many metahumans in Pittsburgh.

"I need to know everything you know about Slate. I need to know how you know they're in Pittsburgh, and who you suspect they're connected to."

“I’ll tell you everything I know about them, but– do you not actually know how widespread they’ve become? I thought they’d be a big enough problem for the FBI or Homeland Security, or whoever you work for. I was fighting them back in the midwest before coming here.” Sam let some of her anger creep into her voice. Just enough, not too much. She couldn’t let Basilica think she was too close to this to assist.

“There’s been word on the street about a drug that seems to be untraceable and is leaving people dead like they fell asleep. There’s news that the Jackals have a new boss. And I’ve heard some whispers of his name. Obsidian. They’re here. These are all signs. He kills people by touching them. Presents like you’ve fallen asleep and just never got back up.”

Sam scratched her head, her hood falling back to reveal her red curls. There was no point hiding them when Basilica had already seen them at the bank heist. Long tendrils of bouncing curls fell from the loose bun that was falling apart at the top of her head. Her hair weighed too much to stay up for very long. She would have to start wearing it in braids again.

“Their core group is Obsidian, Malachite, Sulphur, Lapis, Hematite, and Rhodonite. I’ve spent almost eight years tracking them, and they’re like ghosts, but I think they moved here. It would make sense with the high concentration of metahumans here. I think the Slasher is one of theirs because he’s rumored to have taken out Leo Vasquez, the previously thought head of the Jackals. There are too many coincidences and I know their MO. This lines up.”

Sam started to pace slightly as she spoke, never turning away from Basilica entirely. She wasn’t lying. This was Slate’s MO. She was sure they were actually there. She didn’t have any hard evidence yet, but she knew they were there. So far none of the Jackals members were willing to give up their new bosses. There was only so much torturing she could do before she had to resort to her old habits, and she couldn’t do that. She couldn’t slip.

“I know none of this is hard evidence. But it all lines up for what they do. They move in, they start a gang war, they muscle into a position of power, and they take over operations there. They try to play as clean as possible, and the Jackals’ sudden refusal to sell to kids lines up. I can tell you more. I know so much about their operations, about their people. I’ve heard word that they’re trying to collect metahumans already to join their cause. This could get out of hand fast.”
"You really underestimate how much they know about any of this," Basilica replied, her tone shifting to faint irritation. It seemed like the general mentality was to try and push things under the rug as much as possible, which made the situation far harder to dive into than it had any right to be. "Alright. Obsidian, Malachite, Sulphur, Lapis, Hematite, and Rhodonite."

She recognized some of those names, at least. Taking out her notepad, she began jotting things down.

Obsidian. Kill with a touch. All higher ups here. Slasher tied? Took out old leader.

"A power struggle, then."

She wasn't sure if that was better or worse. On one hand, it made things a lot less stable. On the other, it meant there was the potential for more all-out meta gang wars.

Or - not even gang wars. Collecting metas? Metahuman supremacy?

"Ah." She looked up from her notepad. "That's why there here, isn't it? Far more metas. They're not just moving operations, they're trying to create an exclusion zone."

An exclusion zone. God, that was a scary thought. She nodded her head thoughtfully as she looked at Basilica’s mask. “That would make sense. There’s enough metas here for them to attempt something that extreme if they can get them on their side. I’ve fought metas that he’s radicalized before, back out midwest.”

“They can be very convincing. Their leader, Obsidian, has flipped a lot of metas. You know there’s a high concentration here, and but there was a decent amount back out where I’m from. It’s not a lot, but it's enough for it to have been difficult to break through their ranks. If they’re fully moving their operations here and leaving Philly, then it’s going to quickly turn into a shitshow here.”

She shook her head, a few more of her curls shifting free. She reached up and let her hair tumble down her back, trying to regather it into a new bun. She thought, her eyes refocusing on something in the distance. A speck on the wall on the far side of the warehouse forced her eyes to telescope. Then, she blinked them back into focus on Basilica’s face.

“If you want help, I’ve been dealing with them for eight years. I can lend you a hand. I know the layout they use for their bases, and I know where to look for them. I can be reasonable about this. I won’t go digging into the Slasher specifically. But I can’t promise that I won’t keep hunting Slate.”
Good to know.

Worse comes to worst - she could always call for help. It'd take convincing, to get the feds in full force here, but if they were dealing with a city-wide cell of meta terrorists trying to create their own private army, that'd be a cause for national alarm.

"I can't stop you from going after Slate. I don't think it's the smartest choice, given your history, but I won't get in your way." Closing her notepad and slipping it into a pocket of her suit, she walked over, reaching out to place a firm hand on Phoenix's shoulder. "But if you insist, I'd appreciate any help you're willing to give. We're going to put a stop to this, no matter what it takes."