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The Five - Group RP [Open]

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Smoking a cigar, Lloyd strolled down the street which meet its end on a 3 store building that imposed with its modern appearance, in comparison to those many others dwellings in the area that had Gothic architecture. It was one of those building that was impossible not to spot.


Inhaling the last drop of nicotine, he put his cigar out and walked through the main door. Meryl, the lady from the front desk gave him a genuine smile and stood up from her chair.

"Mr. Hegel, there is someone in your office waiting to speak with you."

Lloyd knitted his brows.

"And why would he be in my office? Jake should take care of him."

"I know this is the standard procedure, but the one waiting for you is Mr. Watson, the director of 'Tempest'."

Lloyd nodded and left the ground floor, going to his office, already considering the case. The man's mind immediately flew to the morning news which were all over the decease of Tempest's lead actor, namely Mr. Whitford, whose death is believed to be in fact a murder, not an accident.


Lloyd spotted Jake already sitting at his desk, focused on the computer. He nodded to him in sign of 'Good morning' and entered his office where Watson was calmly drinking his coffee.

"Lloyd, it has been a long time since I last saw you."

"Craig." Lloyd greeted. "Indeed, it has been long. I speculate that you are here regarding the Whitford."

Watson being in his office wasn't a first, giving that Lloyd had him as a client about a year ago, when the man ran in some heritage problems with his grandchildren.

"You have heard already."

Lloyd gave an affirmative answer with a movement of his head. Sitting down on his chair, he moved his eyes towards the man.

"So, what had the media concealed from its public?"

"Nothing! What you have heard this morning is all that is. No one knows how that damn gun appeared on the set, who it belongs to or when was the replacement done!"

Lloyd knew that Watson can become temperamental when things didn't go the way he wanted.

'The death of Whitford must have hit him pretty hard. The loss must involve at least a few millions of dollars. I should put Nic to look into it, just in case.'

"I will look into it and call you when I find something."

"Good, this is what I wanted to hear." He put his half drunk mug on the table and glanced at his watch. "I can't afford to stay any longer because I have an interview in 30 minutes. I await your call."

And he stood up, arranged his suit and left the room. Shortly, after making a few mental notes, Lloyd followed his action, leaving the room and approaching Jake's desk.

"Jake, get today's newspaper and gather everyone in the conference room in 20 minutes. We have a case."

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Jake held up the paper to show him that he already had it. "I sent the message they will all be there I am also having our IT guy dig in to both their pasts to find out if there is anything off in their finances I'll have him include the co-star who shot him as well" Jake got up and gathered everything he needed for the meeting and handed them to his boss. after he did so he headed to the kitchen as started to make them something to eat.


Jake loaded the try after he finished cooking and pushed it in to the meeting room, he knew what each person liked and made sure that it was sitting in their normal spot. Jake moved the cart out of the way and set his laptop up to the projector so that he could bring up the information that he had gotten together.


'sir everything ready for the meeting and the projector is all set up" Jake looked down his shy nature coming out now that they client was gone.

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Train looked up from his book, and eyed the vibrating mobile phone on his desk. There was a moment of silence as the two were locked in a fierce competition as to whom would succumb to the power of the other. Inside, he knew it was always him, but he did not want to give up just yet. Sooner or later he would, and he did. He grabbed his mobile phone, and turned the screen on. He hoped that it was Jake who had sent the message, and not Kieran, his younger brother, and of course he was right. 20 minutes, huh? All it takes to get to the conference room is at most a minute. That leaves him 19 minutes with the rest of the book.


No. Goodbye Mr Dachshund. You will have to wait till I get back before you can run wild with Miss Charming Lady, thought he to himself, closing the book with a childish smile, and pushed it into the drawer where his other novel was sitting silently. He stood up, ruffled his hair, and let out a long sigh.


Every time he walks the corridor towards the conference room, he feels a pang in his chest. How stupid, he shrugged to himself with a silly smile on his face, Nothing's happening. He ran his hand through his hair as he sauntered down the corridor, forcing his mind away from his heart. He wondered what the case was today. Kidnapping? Extortion? Murder? It could have been anything. The world is full of mysteries. Sometimes they take you by surprise, and sometimes you have been waiting by their doorsteps. Anything could happen.


Train swung the door to the conference room opened, and was greeted by a table laid neatly with cups(?), each filled with beverages to the liking of every team member. Sometimes when he feels childish, he just wants to sit in Levi's or Nic's seats, and gulp down what Jake made for them. The orderliness and routine sometimes irritates him, but of course he knew he should take the chill pill.


Now that he thought about it, it irritates him. He looked at his watch, and wondered if he had enough time to run out and take a quick puff.

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Running a hand through his dark hair, Nic gazed down at the screen of his tablet, reading through the socio-economic stock jumps for the morning. Mostly he had been reading all morning, as well as having several screens up in his office, playing various news reports and stations from around the world. The single bound notebook to his left was filled with scrawled notes in Russian sub-text, absolutely unreadable anyway, his writing had never been all that neat when he was making notes.


An alert popped up on his tablet and he sighed, before sliding his hand over the tablet-synced controls to shut off all of the screens. He supposed it was time to work, not that the man ever stopped. Standing, he took a moment to stretch, the well-fitted designer shirt he wore riding up just a little beneath his cableknit sweater, cashmere of course. He couldn't stand scratchy fabric unless it was gifted to him. Nic was tall; standing at least 6"1', his back straight and posture perfect; he kept up his appearance, he knew it counted. Taking up his tablet and his notebook, he slid them under his arm, and snuffed out the cigarette that was sitting in his ashtray, half finished. Nicholai supposed he didn't need it, he had already had a few this morning...


Stepping from his office to the conference room didn't take all that long, while his office was a bit further down the corridor than the others. During cases, the conference room was where everything happened, all of them moved there. Depending on what kind it was...they could be in there for quite some time. Which is why they had their own offices, as a seperation method. Nic knew that he could not handle having to be with these people all the time, no matter how fond or not he may be of each of them.


Sighing, the economist stepped through the doors, his lips quirking up just a little as he spotted a large cup of tea sitting there waiting for him. "Morning Train," He murmured, nodding once as he sat, setting down his notebook, at least as thick as seven tablets put on top of each other, beside his cup, breathing in the scent of premium Indian Chai tea, most likely sweetened just the way he liked it.

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"Toffee Nut Frappuccino for Levi!" a short, plump woman cheerily called out behind the counter. Levi lazily sauntered from across the hall, dodging waiters and hipsters as he paved his way towards the woman who was repeatedly announcing his name like it was some sort of mantra. Upon reaching the counter, he flashed her a small smile, murmuring a soft 'thank you' before taking hold of his order. His fingers touched her palm and he immediately pulled his hand back. 'Shit,' Levi thought but followed it up with a (rather awkward) wink then quickly left for his parked Beetle, hoping that she did not notice anything strange in his behaviour.


Daft Punk music suddenly blared from the car's compartment as soon as he buckled up. He quickly opened it -- with a struggle because he was buckled up and forgot that he was -- and rummaged through the numerous handphones and wires. When he was able to find it, he checked his personal phone and found 2 messages waiting for him: one from his mother asking if he had eaten breakfast (he replied with a "네 엄마*" because coffee equals breakfast) and the other from Jake telling him all about the case, that there was a meeting and asking him to go through the bank accounts of the people involved.


"Piece of cake," he murmured as he turned on his laptop from sleep mode, "but I have to remind him to contact me through the number I labeled 'BUSINESS' on his phone." Levi opened his work database and keyed in the names of the actors and propsmen possibly involved by memory; he happened to watch a few of the series' episodes by chance because he had wanted to tinker with his new smart TV. As soon as he made a note -- check B.A.s -- and hit 'save,' he revved up the car and sped up.


Levi arrived at the office 5 minutes before the meeting started and hastily walked up to Jake's table. "Hey. Got your message. Do you have the complete list of the people involved? I only remember a few so please e-mail them to me." He took a swig from his coffee, ruffled Jake's hair as thanks and proceeded to the meeting room. He halted by the doorway and looked over his shoulder at younger man. "Jake," he said, "you might want to straighten up your papers. Not aligned."


The man pushed up his glasses and walked up to his usual seat, nodding at Train and tapping Nic's shoulder with the back of his hand as he passed him by. "Sorry. Starbucks' traffic." Levi shrugged and then grinned, seeing that Jake prepared a cup of coffee for him. He placed his own frappuccino next to the cup and then sat down.


Pulling out his laptop, Levi started to work on the thing Jake has asked him to do, losing himself instantly as he waited for their boss to come in and start the meeting.





*네 엄마 = yes, mom


((omg sorry i was at uni dissecting cats))

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When Lloyd entered the conference room at the set time, everyone was already gathered, waiting for him to show up.


"Good morning." He greeted in a lively voice, happy to see everyone after a whole month of leisure. "We have got an interesting case."


Although his statement was doomed to skepticism because at first glance the case didn't seem that interesting giving their past experience, Lloyd never spoke words in which he didn't put all of his believes.

He sat down at his usual place, where Jamaican coffee was already waiting for him, and he then spoke again:


"First of all, there is massive information that is nowhere to be found. For what I was told, the gun was given to the co-star, Travis Ford, by one of the staff members, Lynda Loghan, who took it from the room designed for props. The police don't doubt that because both of them had passed the Lie Detector test. And that is all about the gun. Where it came from, who bought it, from what store it was purchased it remains uncertain."


He stopped, searching his pockets for a cigar and shortly whispered a curse, realizing that he had left his pack in his office. He gave up the idea and continued the conversation.


"Conclusively, we don't have a certain suspect, so everyone from the set will have to be investigated. That sums up a gathering of 66 people, including the janitors and the Director."Lloyd cleared his throat and sipped some coffee, taking thoughts.


"On top of that, we don't have the most important thing - the reason. Mr. Whitford was a wealthy man, but he was not married, didn't have legal children or bastards. The tabloids affirmed that he had only one family member still alive, namely his grand-mother. But no one suspects her, giving that he has cancer in terminal phase. "


Lloyd sighed, the vociferation of his thoughts being even more annoying then when they were still in his head.


"They all passed that test, but we can't be sure, can we? They are all actors after all, and to fool a Lie Detection test isn't that hard if the right interests are driving you to murder. Train, I want you to speak with the co-star and Lynda, see if you find any flaws." Lloyd didn't cast a glance at Train before pronouncing his name. He put his faith in him to find something that the police had missed.


"Levi, go and run a background check of those 66 people, Jack is already working on sending you the names via email. I want to know how long had the stuff members had been working on the set, what are their financial status and where they worked before."


Lloyd thought that it will take him a whole night to check all those 66 people private lives, but there is nothing he could do about it, wasn't it? Secretly, he liked to pry on others lives during a case, because the number of suspects suddenly grew and he also found various reasons for the murder.


"Nic, I want you to check the charts, specifically how had the death of the lead actor economically influenced the Director and the other actors."


And that should have been the meeting. When a case came in, usually the first meeting conference was lead by Lloyd, who held the most information regarding the case. But, in those following he spoke very little and listened to the team's progress.


"That is it. Good luck, everyone. May the truth prevail. Tomorrow at lunch we will held the next meeting and see what we have gathered."


Everyone stood up and Lloyd, who was a chain-smoker and hadn't had a cigar for nearly two straight hours, approached Nic with pining eyes.

This morning he had discovered that his favorite brand of cigars had gone bankrupt and he was now forced to smoke low class cigars who tasted really bad. It was fortunate that Nic also smoke and also had similar tastes with him.


"Nic." And he pressed his hand on the man's shoulder. "Are you perhaps going for a smoke?"

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Jake had sent the information that each team member needed for the case before he shut down his laptop and headed to his desk to get to work. Unlike the other Jake mostly lived at work since he didn't have anything else he could do. at a mere five feet six inches he was considerably shorter then the rest of the men in the group.


"Lloyd we have several other cases that you need to look over when you get back for when we finish this one I have had several request come in this past week and have gathered the information that you need"


Jake made sure that his boss had heard him and then went back to work gathering the files that they needed for work. Jake then looked up some new smokes for his boss granted he wished the man would quit for his health Jake knew he would miss the smell if he did. Jake found several brands that were close to what he originally smoked and wrote them down he then sent their runner out to get them.


When the Runner got Back Jake went and set the files and the smokes on his desk with a note letting him know about the smokes and that the next case or cases needed to be decided on before the end of this one.

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The door, which had just recently returned to its original position, was once again opened. Train looked up from his watch, and saw the too familiar face of his colleague. The dark-haired man, just slightly taller than him, walked over to the table, and as he sat his perfectly-built figure on the seat where the Indian Chai tea was waiting, Train heard the familiar murmur of a greeting, followed by a nod. He returned the nod.


Abandoning the idea of a quick puff, Train sat himself down on the seat next to Nic where his glass of water was waiting; water was certainly not what he most liked, but he could not afford to be intoxicated during work hours, and especially during meetings. "Good morning, Nicolai," greeted Train with an English pronunciation of the name. Of course he could not tell how a name is pronounced in a language that he does not comprehend, and being monolingual and an English born and bred, his ears and tongue are accustomed solely to English. "Haven't seen you all morning. What have you been up to?" asked he casually.

Five minutes before the meeting commenced, Levi walked in with a cup of Starbucks coffee in his hand. Train returned his nod, as he did with Nic. The IT go-to-guy had apparently been more interested in his laptop (or rather work) than in his colleagues who were seated just across him. Even the watchful eyes of Train, who was contemplating to attempt a conversation, did not seem to distract the man lost in his binary world.


Train's gaze was promptly broken when Lloyd stepped into the conference room with a lively greeting. "Good morning, Lloyd," Train returned the greeting in a less-enthusiastic manner. He does not despise work, but sometimes he felt like this was not the kind of job for him, and he was not the kind of person for the job. Yes, he had graduated from a prestigious university, but having done so is not a guarantee of intelligence. Occasionally, he thinks himself the fluke of the crowd, but almost always, he would change his mind, quite too soon to believe that he ever thought himself a fluke, when faced with nonsense-blabbering prestigious-university-graduates.


Silently, the piercing brown eyes sitting behind long bangs searched Lloyd's face as he spoke of the case; the chain-smoker seemed to be very persistent and kept going without a single puff for two hours. But two hours went very quickly, and when Lloyd announced the end of the meeting, Train, along with the others, stood up. The next meeting was to be at lunchtime tomorrow, and he began to mentally plan his tasks according to the resources that were available to him -- time and travelling convenience that is. Unlike the rest of the team, he had much more restrictions when trying to get his job done; he had to meet the people, and way too often they are not very pleasant. Despite his short-temper he had not exploded at any of their clients or witnesses since he first joined the company. But of course, one would find him with blood-shot eyes and reek heavily of cigarette at the end of every information gathering.


His leather-bound notebook was laid open in front of him, white pages covered in black scribbles staring up at his pale face. He quickly made notes of his task and resources, and proceeded on to making calculations for the most efficient and effective plan. All the while his hawk-like eyes watched closely Lloyd's gesture towards Nic, and the interaction between the two.

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To check -- *cough*hack*cough -- banks as reference material for better loaning services was something that Levi usually does, but to check the banks' networking for work, and for financial backgrounds at that, was a rare thing for him ("It's a treat," he'd say) considering that most of their cases were not that extensive to begin with. He typed and clicked away, unnerved by the occasional blank stares that Nic was giving him and the watchful gaze of Train who looked like he wanted to start a conversation but never had the heart to. Even when their boss walked in with a rather lively aura, Levi still did not look up from his laptop, working as if on auto-pilot...type, drink coffee, switch tab, type, drink coffee, switch tab...


Nic had nudge his foot lightly to break his concentration.


Levi jolted and looked up. "Sorry. Mornin' Lloyd." He put his laptop on sleep mode and listened closely. Apparently, the case deemed unsolvable by the police that Watson turned to them for help. It wasn't bad; it was actually very complex, one that everyone -- well not maybe everyone -- liked because they could go all out on this one. Levi, himself, liked the very idea of going all out. To him it meant more coffee and more time with everything techie. Pulling all-nighters within the confines of his office was a plus, too.


"Levi, go and run a background check of those 66 people, Jake is already working on sending you the names via email. I want to know how long had the stuff members had been working on the set, what are their financial status and where they worked before," Lloyd had instructed and Levi replied with a 'roger that.' The man wrinkled his nose though. 66 people? Well, that's grand. Levi took out his stick-on notes and scribbled the order of his investigation, also making a small footnote that said, don't faint.


When the meeting was finished, Levi stood up and gathered his things, faintly hearing Lloyd asking Nic if he would like to smoke or something else that fall in those lines. He cocked his head, mentally asking himself why people liked to take a puff; he did once and it wasn't pleasant. Pushing his chair back and shooting his empty cups into the trash bin, Levi started to make his way out of the office. He bumped into Train's back (the younger man was taller than him by at least 3 inches). "Woah woah woah." And then he remembered.


"Hey Train," Levi tapped the younger man's elbow with his laptop. The taller man was somewhat distant, he observed, but Levi was friendly and he needed work done. And he also,sometimes, wanted to pry into the lives of his workmates -- some habit he picked up from work. "If you're done with the interviewing thing, can you help me analyse some information?"

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"Good morning, Nicolai, haven't seen you all morning. What have you been up to?"


Nic chuckled in response to the younger man's question, gesturing to the work in front of him with a raised eyebrow. "I have been in my office, keeping up to date mostly; stocks are always changing, as is news. I have to keep up with it all somehow." The Russian replied, picking up his fountain pen and twirling it between his fingers.


The wait for the meeting was fairly short, though it didn't stop Nicholai from flipping through his notes on the morning's activity, committing it all again to memory. Nic was organised; he did not like to be behind in time or on information. As such, he always made sure his work was up to date to the minute for meetings.


As usual, once the meeting began, Lloyd was as chipped and professional as usual in explaining their case situation. Nic listened intently, tapping his pen against his hand at times. This was interesting, so many variables but then so many possibilities. He had heard about the current status of the movie this morning, they were in disarray and two of their sponsors had removed support with the pending investigation. Harsh, even for Hollywood. Whitford's fans had been all over it, many of them already throwing accusations in the air, but that was not his department. Economic stress on the movie would be high, but specifically he would need to look into that. Economically, of course actors had their own salaries to take care of...and with this happening, there would be few who actually had a foot up because of it, if they were connected to the franchise.


Nicholai was sure he had a contact somewhere that could help him pull it out of the woodwork.


Sure enough, it was exactly what he was asked to do. "Nic, I want you to check the charts, specifically how had the death of the lead actor economically influenced the Director and the other actors."


"But of course, I'm already on it," He gave a small nod to Lloyd, fingers flying over his tablet in email, sending off four to contacts just off the top of his head. When they were set to leave, Nic stood and took up his gear, setting the teacup on the bench where he knew that Jake would be able to see it, not on the table to leave marks, and started towards the door. There was not much time, and he would probably receive some emails back soon, but there was enough time for-


"Nic." A hand met his shoulder and the dark haired man turned, an eyebrow raised to see Lloyd standing there, a small, almost hopeful look in his eyes. "Are you perhaps going for a smoke?" Of all of the other four, he supposed Lloyd was the one he got along with the best. Getting along for Nic basically meant being civil and a little friendly, there wasn't much more he could give, but either way. They did smoke together on occasion.


Nicholai gave a low chuckle and nodded, gesturing for them to walk. "How did you guess? I may just happen to have a few of your favourites left," he looked thoughtful. "But just...maybe." They turned into his office and he headed to his mahogany cabinet that he kept in here by the back wall, opening one of the drawers to pull out a cigar case. He placed his gear on the desk, taking with him only his smartphone, before smiling. "You got a light in your office?"

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"How did you guess? I may just happen to have a few of your favourites left."


"Two hours without a smoke are pretty tough. I imagined you might shared the thought."

Lloyd smiled and his eyes glowed with a benevolent light when hearing the possibility of Nic having a few of his favorites cigars left. The gratitude only increased in intensity when the possibility turned into certainty.


"You got a light in your office?"


"Sure." And they went together to Lloyd's office, which also had a balcony, especially designed for smokers like himself. Lloyd's office surely wasn't the largest in the firm, but that was only because he decided on choosing the one that also gave him the possibility of smoking without walking too much, as it may have affected his work.


When they got there, Lloyd's gaze first fell on the packet placed on a white agenda paper, similar to the one he gave Jake's as a birthday present. His brows shot in surprise, seeing that the cigar's brand was the same with the one that went bankrupt.


"I was really disappointed this morning, hearing my favorite brand declaring bankruptcy. I am amazed that Jake still found this." He said, holding the pack in his right hand and showing it to Nic. "Anyway, this has already became a rarity on the market, so I should keep it for emergencies." And by 'emergency' he thought of those times when he didn't smoke because his body needed it, but because his mind demanded tranquility.


Lloyd skimmed the note and gave an nonchalant smile, then spoke again.

"He tells me to quit smoking because it's bad for my health." Lloyd chuckled as if something childish had been imposed on him and got the lighter from his desk's drawer.


The lithe man opened the door that lead to the balcony and walked forward, followed by Nic. He took a cigar from the case, lightened it and inhaled a great amount. When the satisfaction brought by the nicotine wore out, he turned and watched the other man, who was also enjoying the puff.


Lloyd leaned on the metal railing and watched the other in silence.


"My father sent me a bottle of Bordeaux Wine last week. I will probably pull an all-nighter, giving the 66 people that I have to check. You can come to my office when the work hours are over and I'll treat you for this." And Lloyd raised the hand in which he held the cigar. He knew a few things about Nic's background history, so a fine wine would most likely stir the man's interest.


"Anyway, Jake dropped some other cases on my desk and I have to look over them before Levi sends me the email."


His gaze moved to the half-filled ashtray where he put out this, before going back into his office. He sat in his comfortable ergonomic chair and took the pile of files that Jake brought a while ago.

"Good luck with your work." He said to Nic, who was now leaving his office.

Being left alone, he gave out a short sigh and opened the first file.

"Let's see what we've got here."


-=- 3 hours later -=-


"I'm done!" Lloyd exclaimed relieved, although no one could hear him. He looked over 10 other cases, who, fortunately, were expatiated and there was no reason for him to bring them into a conference.

Lloyd rose from his chair, stretched and took the files, then exited the room. He approached Jake's desk and gazed at him intensely, to drove the little man's attention to him.

"Send these to the Law Department from the first floor. Files two, four and nine go to the West Wing and the rest to the North. Also, tell Meryl to inform the clients on the cases' progress."


When the firm was founded, the number of members was indeed coinciding with the name they shortly gave to the company, 'The Five'. The cases that first came in were those that presented peculiarities and no other investigators endeavored in solving them. But shortly after their breakthrough, other cases that weren't so 'special' started to came in, so Lloyd decided to create the Law Department, where the cases which didn't require special observation went to.


Jake nodded and Lloyd returned to his office, deciding to have a break and check on everyone's progress.

He went straight towards the armchair near the bookshelf and took his phone out of his pocket and opened Whatsapp.


To Train: Hello, Train. How is it going with Lynda and Travis? Are they giving you headaches?


The corner of his lips seemed to quirk in amusement, thinking that Travis Ford might cause some troubles, or at least that was what the Director, Mr. Watson, had said about him, being temperamental and hard to get with when being in private.


To Levi: Levi, how are you? I hope you don't faint from work. If you think it's too much, don't hesitate to ask Jake to give you a hand.

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Jake nodded his head and placed the cases in the out boxes they belonged and then got up. Jake walked back in to his office and handed him some more files "sorry sir they keep coming in I would sort them for you but I don't know how you judge them" Jake kept his face to the ground since he didn't want to get in to any trouble for watching his boss work. Jake had already cleaned to conference room and started prepping their next meal. Jake knew it was going to be a long few days or so for them so all the meals he would make were something they could eat with very little problems.


Jake then walked over to his desk and started cleaning it up since it was a bit of a mess. Jake still had several packs of his bosses smokes stashed away so that on special occasions he could give them to him. Jake also had several more pack en-route to the office his runners had been told to buy up all the packs they could find so that he had a store of them for Lloyd.


"the law office called by the way they are having a small problem with one of the clients we sent to them he is wanting constant updates every two hours and they are not able to get their work done" Jake had listened to them for twenty minutes before he had been able to hang up and expected that they would be getting a call from the male sometime soon

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Reacting to the nudge on his elbow, Train turned to face Levi with a somewhat annoyed look; it seemed like his pen have made a line across the dark scribbles from the tap.

If you’re done with the interviewing thing, can you help me analyse some information?

He rolled his eyes as if to say no, but turned to check his quickly-scrawled plan on his notebook before turning back to Levi and said, “I’ve got to run around and catch people’s tails. Doesn’t leave me much time to do anything else.


By then, Lloyd and Nic have left the conference room for a smoke. Being distracted, Train had not had the chance to catch a glimpse of what happened, or eavesdropped of what was said. He closed his notebook, and with the notebook in his hand he headed for the door, where he then turned around and said to Levi, “But if you insist, drop me an e-mail with the information, and I'll look at it when I get the time to.


At his office, he quickly made two phone calls: one to Ford’s manager, and the other to Lynda Loghan herself. Working in the film industry means busy schedules, and he hoped that it was his lucky day to be able to catch them both on the same day at such short notice. However, even if he could not, he would persist anyway; he has a paid job to do and someone is dead – two reasons enough to justify meeting up with him despite any work load.


Ford’s manager was surprisingly very open to the idea of a short-notice interview, and had pleasantly invited Train over to Ford’s dressing room to have the interview but with the condition that he will be present during the interview – a condition that Train would prefer not to bind himself to, but was willing to accept. Train then proceeded to calling Lynda and had asked to meet her in half an hour. At first she refused the short notice, but knowing how to work his way around a soft-spoken lady like her, Train managed to convince her to commit to the meeting.


It was a good start, and he hoped for a great day. But he was not going to take any chances. Train opened his drawer, and took three packets of cigarettes and placed them in his bag along with his notebook, recorder, and iPod. Knowing that he would not be back in his office until the next day, he watered his Japanese Peace Lily, and said goodbye to the dear flower. He then headed out with his car keys.


Stepping outside of the office was always the most pleasant part of his job. Train stood in front of the building for a moment, and took a deep breath. He felt better being away – so much better. But there is no being away forever, except for being no longer employed by the company.


Train let out a sigh. It was time to meet the two, no, three. In his short lifetime, and brief experience with the company, he had met many people of various backgrounds, and from this he had learned one thing: people can be a real pain in the neck. And he also learned that if he punched someone for being a pain, he would lose his job. Thus, despite his blood boiling in his veins, he had yet to show or be violent against any of their clients – quite an impressive act for a person who has a short fuse, actually.


Hello, Train. How is it going with Lynda and Travis? Are they giving you headaches?"

Lloyd’s Whatsapp message was sent somewhere around three in the afternoon, but was not seen and replied to till two in the morning. “I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t give me headaches.

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Train rolled his eyes; Levi took a small step backward.


Damn, he's annoyed.


I’ve got to run around and catch people’s tails. Doesn’t leave me much time to do anything else.” Levi nodded and raised a hand in resignation. "Got it, got it. At least I tried to extract some help from the professional," he teasingly replied. But the taller man seemed not amused...or rather, his head was somewhere else. Train’s eyes wavered and landed on the closing door – Levi noticed – and watched the slender fingers that held unto the doorknob from the outside (Nic?, Levi thought). When the door was pulled to a close, Train sighed and, slightly, dejectedly closed his notebook. He headed for the door and mentioned something about dropping him an e-mail regarding the things that the smaller man – might – wanted him to look into. Closing the door behind him, Train left without waiting for Levi to say an ‘okay.’


The older man shrugged and walked out of the conference room just a few moments later and as much as he wanted to think about why his colleague was a little bit distracted earlier, it was not his life that Levi should pry into right now. With his mind already set on things, Levi quickly went to his own office.


His office was probably not as classy as the others’ considering that it was painted in monochromatic black-and-white and that there were no other furniture other than his semi-circular desk, swivel chair, (another) long table, and a large shelf containing all his past documents and codes. The only things that filled up the entirety of the room – that made his room look a little too crowded – were his telephone fax, printers (he has two), stacks of unopened bond papers, several pen pots with pens (both unused and used), and mug and coffee pot – all strategically placed side by side so that the coffee won’t spill all over the bond papers or the electronic stuff and etc.


Seeing that everything was still in place, Levi closed the door with his foot and grinned, opening his arms wide as he approached his desk. “Daddy’s home,” he announced to no one in particular and sat down. He pulled out something tray-like from his desk, set up his laptop, and connected it with the three other monitors waiting for him to be operated using a LAN cable. Turning on the monitors and revelling in the beautiful view of his maximized desktop, Levi began his assignment.




[12:08 NN]


Levi was unto person no. 26, checking the past business and entertainment affiliations of each of the listed starting from person 66. It was a weird thing to work backwards but he thought it would be more efficient seeing that the list kind of ranked them by their importance in the set. By now, Levi still did not acquire any relevant information and he had already stacked at least 10 coffee cups on the floor beside his desk.




[4:00 PM]


Levi was in maniac mode.


He had been pacing around the room for the past hour, sorting out the details that he has gathered. There were newspaper clippings – most of which were downloaded thru the internet – and print-outs of resumés, family histories and background information all over his office walls.


Levi was right for working backwards.


He had acquired suspicious results when he did a run-through of persona no. 18’s background and the suspicious results kept coming in with every succeeding person. Some of them were even linked to the persons he had checked before, much to his dismay; he had to re-read the information of those people again.


Due to the heavy load of information, Levi resulted to pasting everything on his walls, making post-it notes and tiny scribbles and circles and footnotes all over the documents. His head was like a frenzied carousel of details that he forgot about the box of toffees Jake had placed on the long table just a few hours ago.




[1:16 AM]


He was in a state of shock


How the hell can six people be interconnected in so many different aspects?


Levi let out an exasperated groan and hid his head in between his knees. He was now curled up on the floor, a pile of documents laid out in front of him. He had been going around in circles. No, his head was going around in circles. He can't think straight and he was already palpitating from too much coffee; the cups had already tripled-and-a-half (was his fault for having Starbucks deliver him a dozen venti lattés), a number he had to tabulate in his "Coffee Stacks Hall of Aroma and Glory." Even his office reeked of ground coffee beans.


The man slowly crawled to a corner in the room, sighing tiredly as he leaned back unto the cold wall. I have to accept defeat to sleep, he thought as he closed his eyes even though my eyes hurt.


With disheveled hair and a very disoriented mind, Levi dozed off on the floor, forgetting to turn off the lights and check his for-business phone which was still blinking with a message:



Levi, how are you? I hope you don't faint from work. If you think it's too much, don't hesitate to ask Jake to give you a hand.

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"Oh, I've had that from so many people. Wishing I would stop but, well, it is my body and...what's one addiction to a person's life?" Nic chuckled, following the man out onto his balcony, moving to lean against the railing. He slipped his cigar into his mouth and, covering the tip from the wind, waited patiently for a light, before taking a much needed puff, breathing out the smoke through his mouth. "Mmm...." Came a low, satisfied sound.


"My father sent me a bottle of Bordeaux Wine last week. I will probably pull an all-nighter, giving the 66 people that I have to check. You can come to my office when the work hours are over and I'll treat you for this." Lloyd told him, and Nic couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. Oh? Very fair quality then. But either way... Looking up at the man, he gave a small smile.


"We all have quite a bit of work to do, so perhaps we may have to put that on hold...I think we should both see how we go with our work, after all, I am going to be trawling tabloids and stocks all evening. Remember?" He raised an eyebrow, twirling the cigar between two fingers deftly.


Looking at his watch, Nicholai took note of the time. Nearly time for the next announcement of company stocks...he should be back in his office by then, in the very least, but he did need to finish this cigar. He looked up when Lloyd spoke, "Anyway, Jake dropped some other cases on my desk and I have to look over them before Levi sends me the email. Good luck with your work." Nic inclined his head as the man left the balcony, giving a small wave.


"Good luck to you, Lloyd."


Not five minutes later, the man was finished his indulgence for the day and flicked the butt into the very well placed ash-bucket out on the balcony, before heading back through Lloyd's, impressive and tastefully sized, office. Striding easily through the corridor, he reached his office easily, taking only one breath before slipping through the door, and moving to start everything up again. It was time to work...


___________________________________________ _- Three hours later _-


Sitting back in his seat, the dark haired Russian laced his hands together, staring at the now compiled report on his OneNote, typed from notes and statistics. At the moment, those who were affected economically by the lead actors death...were high. Depending on the contents of the man's will, there were going to be complications, and it had to be seen before he could make full assumptions but...


This man had a lot of people who were tied into his life.


Fourteen of the other actors in the film, including three extras, were connected personally to the man, be it through the Academy or through actually knowing them otherwise. There were various reports of them meeting through the past week, but with the film being currently in detriment, the only gain they had was an insurance payout from the film coming to a standstill, being unable to continue, which was total to about $40 000 for six of them, and $25 000 for the rest. Amonst those who gained $40 000 was Travis Ford. Because this movie was media-involved, heavy with interviews and the actors popular in society, the media could be involved...but that was a long shot, he doubted the reporters covering the incident would kill a man for the sake of covering the story.


Other than this, the director, Marcus Drake, he had been a good friend to the man, yet in the past month there had not been many reports of their involvement outside of the movie. As such...it was quite possible that the director had some kind of motive, particularly considering that he had a shock-payout, having found the body, of $50 000, as well as the payment for standstill of $40 000, considering he was funding this movie...he had quite a bit of standing to gain.


As for companies involved, all of their stock pretty much dropped due to the standstill, so sponsers were out...as for staff members, such as Lynda Lohgan, their pay had been doubled due to standstill, which included producers and all other prop staff, and even the score director...


From what he could see...quite a few people could be involved but until the will was examined, they could not really do much...and the will was Lloyd's department. Compiling his report, he put through an e-mail to Jake.


My report is ready Jake, I'll be emailing you a copy now. If you could have this ready to cross-reference, that would be fantastic. Thank you for the tea this morning, it was delicious as always.




File- Case 41305 Stock Status #1/>

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After sending the messages, Lloyd grabbed his laptop from his desk, went outside on the balcony and had a smoke. He saw the information regarding the problematic client who was abusively checking on his case, making the lawyer's life a living hell. He checked to see the name of the advocate in charge and was not surprised when seeing the name. It was one of the newbies who he had employed only a week ago.


"No wonder that the client is a headache. I'll give Wayne the case."


Lloyd spoke loudly and sent the case to a more experienced lawyer, namely Wayne. He also gave another case to the newbie, so not to make him feel left out.



2 A.M.


Lloyd was checking what Levi had sent him not too long ago, when his phone made a noisy sound and distracted the man from his meditative stance. He grabbed it with a frown and looked at the screen, seeing Train's name. The anger dissipated as the name processed in his mind.


I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t give me headaches.


Lloyd smiled wanly and started typing.


"How very cold of you. But we both know you are the best for field work, so please bear with it a little longer. ^o^ "


Lloyd acknowledged Train’s astute capacity for subtracting useful information from various individuals. He was obviously aware of Train’s temperamental personality, but he also trusted his professionalism, knowing he wouldn’t snap in front of a crucial suspect.


Lloyd sighed for no apparent reason and returned to his computer, reading again the files of those 6 people whose private lives were interconnected, especially from the financial point of view. Even though they seemed connected, there was no apparent lead to the murderer. As Levi has pointed, their working contract included an obligation for insurance in case of a standstill. And indeed, all those six people gained $40.000 after the murder.

Have those 6 people murdered Mr. Whitford?


He looked at their files again. One of them was the Director, who was also a sponsor and came with the idea of the insurance. At first glance, it looked totally suspicious, but if you thought of it closely, $40.000 was an insignificant sum for someone as him, whose wealth was something that many people in the film industry hardly even dreamt of.


“There is no reason for him to kill a man for $40.000.”


The other one was the co-star, Travis, whose financial status was to his advantage, same case as the Director’s: the $40.000 was a trifle. There was also a woman, an actress, who played a minor role in the series. The three remaining were staff members whose wages were good enough to receive that sum, namely a co-writer, a music producer and the member who was in charge with the arts of the scenes.


But again, reading their files, there was nothing that led to murder, which was frustrating.


Seeing that it was futile to try to find something in those files, Lloyd sighed and thought to wait until morning and hear what others had discovered during the day.


Another half an hour passed and he saw no response from Train, so he closed his phone, along with his laptop and left his office, thinking that he might actually get some sleep that night.


10.00 A.M


Everyone was gathered in the conference room, drinking coffee and having breakfast. While everyone was eating he made a short resume of what Levi sent him and put on the table the files of the six people, together with their photos.


“My conclusion is that, although money was involved, the sum was too small for a murdering desire to be nurtured by those six people. Speaking more frankly, we still don’t have a reason for the crime.”


Lloyd cast a glance at everyone and then spoke again.


“So, I hope you had more luck then me. What did you find?”

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(sorry I didn't respond right away have back to back four hour lab classes going from 10:10 am to around 7:20 pm)


Jake walked through the office and made sure that if they were in their office that it was clean and if they were sleeping she made sure they were warm and comfortable. Jake worked through the night and in to the morning going over in coming cases. Jake had set several on his desk for them to look at after they complete this case.



4:00 am


Deciding that he needed to get some rest Jake headed home and laid down. Jake was exhausted but knew he would have to be back in five hours so that he cold make breakfast for the meeting.


8:00 Am


Jake walked out of his apartment and spotted a man who he had dated a while back but after he became massively possessive that he tried to track him everyday. Jake broke up with him and then moved. leaving his home Jake walked to work fast and sighed in relief when he made it to work. Jake also knew he would have to look for a new place to live again.


10:00 am


Jake sat and listened to Lloyd as he went over what he had wanted to on the case and then waited for the others to talk. Jake was currently ignoring his phone which was vibrating off the hook as his ex tried to get in to contact with him. James knew he would have to talk to Lloyd about being able to live above the offices in the apartment there till he could find a safe place to live.

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The darkened room was as still as when a silent mouth in frost breathes. Gently, the long burgundy curtains, hung from the ceiling, swayed to the rhythm of the silent wind, which had found its way through the slightly parted French window. Train, lying on his side in the queen-sized bed, had his fingers wrapped around his mobile phone, and his eyes heavy with sleep when the soft vibration of the mobile phone, indicating a new message, broke the still silence. He flicked the screen on:


How very cold of you. But we both know you are the best for field work, so please bear with it a little longer. ^o^


The corner of his lips quivered slightly, a soft chuckle faintly audible. He could not write back to Lloyd, the desire to sleep was too strong, and the exhaustion soaked to his bones; he would be seeing him the next day anyway.



Sleep came and went in a blink of an eye; Train was back in the office at seven in the morning. He was not certain if the others had already arrived, but that was not his utmost important concern at the moment. He let himself into his office, and, having watered his Japanese Peace Lily, sat on his desk with the glaring screen of his laptop staring back at his bloodshot eyes.


Even though the company computer was much better than his own laptop with respect to the specifications, he had opted to use the laptop when handling information of the people that he had interviewed. Of course it was not his own laptop per se; it was a laptop that he had requested from the company (i.e., Lloyd) for the sole purpose of storing interview information. Train had taken the laptop to someone he knew to have it equipped with all kinds of technical protections, which Train could not understand, and on top of that, he had taken careful steps not to access the internet and use specific drives to send data to and from the laptop.


Train had reasoned that all persons that he interviews on behalf of the company reserves the right to know what information is held about them, to decide who may have access to the information, and to set out rules to ensure that the given information is handled properly. So, while the company computer is well protected given that they have an IT geek who eats, sleeps, and lives on the computer, Train did not trust Levi and the other three members of the company to not snoop around. There are principles to uphold, and he takes them very seriously. Even if he could trust them not to snoop, he would still do what he did – it was all necessary, it was what must be done to protect the rights of all the people, and the integrity of the company.



Sunlight flooded through the opened window of his office, tickling the back of his neck as he sat in his chair, back slightly slouched, watching the interview video that he had with Travis Ford just the day before. He had lost track of the number of times that he had watched this video; every time he did, the blood in him simmers, and he had to break away from the screen, afraid that he might break the laptop screen and any other company properties. He was not too keen on paying for that, or being sent to anger management programmes.


Just slightly before ten in the morning, he turned off the computer, placed it in a drawer and locked it. He needed another puff. The three packets of cigarettes that he took with him yesterday no longer exist, and he had brought in more of them, knowing that he would need them.


When Train arrived at the meeting room, breakfast was already set on the table as usual. Though Jake occasionally irritates him with the orderliness, at times like this when he needs a good meal he was quite glad that Jake was part of the company.


The tea was still hot when Train thoughtfully took a sip from the cup. Everything that happened was still playing in his mind, and he knew that he had to listen to the others for information that might help weave together the chaos in his head. He wished he was as competent as Lloyd made him out to be. Train sighed, and lifted his left hand for attention as he placed the cup on its saucer.


I’ve got quite a lot of meaningless information that might or might not be useful for the case,” he started, “And I’m not going to throw it all on the table, or write a thousand-page long of report on it for some very good reasons. I’m just hoping to fit in whatever information that I have with whatever the rest of you have.


Train paused for a second as he organised his thoughts. “Well, what I found most striking with the interview that I had yesterday, was the fact that Travis’s manager, Walter Ray, was very willing to have the interview within such a short notice. But Travis himself did not seem quite too keen about it. He was a pain when we had the interview, which might be because of some underlying reason connected to the case, or that he is just a bloody prick with a flipping attitude problem and personality issues.


Again he paused briefly to let whatever he said soak into the brains of his colleagues.


I suspect it’s the latter,” added Train with an annoyed tone, and a roll of his eyes, "Does anyone have anything on Walter Ray?"

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Levi woke up with his glasses askew, his neck throbbing in so many places. He lazily scooted towards his desk and reached for his mobile phone. He groaned upon seeing that he did not reply to yet another one of his boss' messages; he forgot about the world again because of work. Yawning, he pushed himself up, gathered all his valuables, and left.


Levi was not exactly a morning person -- especially at busy times like this -- but he greeted every person he met during his elevator ride (most of them where from the Law Department) and he was not ashamed of his morning appearance that clearly said, 'haven't slept well' or 'person need bath.' After all, he was busy and he was a weird man and these people weren’t the people he wanted to look presentable for.


When he reached the ground floor, Levi immediately rushed to his car and drove home. Because it was only a little past 8 am and he thought he has time for a bath.


And while he drove, he thought about how to summarize his findings concisely in under 10 minutes. Or less than that.




He came into the conference room earlier than the others. Jake had already set the table with breakfast and like usual, the secretary prepared only a cup of coffee for him; he especially asked him to do just that.


The others piled in not long after he set up his laptop in front of him and he greeted each one with a slight nod. Today’s officially the second day of their data gathering so he knew that each one’s preoccupied with thinking of the things they have found. Levi thought that uttering a single word to them would annoy them, like what he did to Train yesterday; he kept his mouth shut, then.


Lloyd came in while everyone was eating breakfast and started the meeting after a few minutes.


My conclusion is that, although money was involved, the sum was too small for a murdering desire to be nurtured by those six people. Speaking more frankly, we still don’t have a reason for the crime. So, I hope you had more luck than me. What did you find?


Levi furrowed his eyebrows. He knew exactly what Lloyd meant and he was annoyed at himself for a bit for looking over such stuff. But, there were some things that, he thought, were queer...


All thoughts were pushed to the back of his mind when Train raised his hand and spoke. Levi opened Travis’ file in his computer, typing in whatever Train has mentioned. Either directly involved into the crime or just a bloody prick... When the younger man asked if anyone has anything on Walter Ray, Travis’ manager, Levi said, “Uhm, I’ll get on with it if you guys don’t mind.” He then, opened one of his programs, input the manager’s name, and clicked ‘search.’


He fidgeted on his seat as he watch the progress bar reach its completion. A soft beep was heard and all sorts of links showed up on his laptop’s screen. Levi scanned through the list, carefully choosing what to open. A minute later, he selectively right-clicked and opened them up.


It seems that Walter Ray was mentioned in a few of Whitford’s scandals from before. Apparently, the media speculated of a rift between these two. However, the scandals never got so big because neither of the parties gave out comments regarding the matter so it is not a wonder if these news were overlooked. Furthermore, a magazine did a cover on Whitford once and he mentioned things regarding the people who managed him before his current one. He never mentioned names but Ray’s name popped up more often than not in the website’s comments section,” Levi reported as he quickly scanned through each tab he kept open.


Should look into this stuff more. Can you give me more time Lloyd?” he asked his boss. As he waited for a reply, he quickly shot glances at his two other colleagues, contemplating whether he would need their help or not.

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