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Connor Adams

Ex-marine, now Sheriff's deputy!

0 · 678 views · located in Cartwright Falls

a character in “Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story”, as played by Zombicide93

Groups

The Sherriff’s Department of Cartwright Falls

Description

Name- Connor Adams
Age- 25
Appearance-The Ex-marine is average height, standing at 5' 8'' but has the athletic build of a soldier, weighing in at 185 lbs.
Connor sports short dark brown hair, dark green eyes, and despite keeping his face clean-shaven, he tends to get a bit of stubble every now and then.
Image

Image

Bio-Connor's family is famous in Cartwright Falls for being a military family, the tradition going back farther than anyone in the town can remember.
Growing up in such a family, Connor developed a well-disciplined state of mind, not really letting stress or nervousness get to him and never backing down from a confrontation, which got him in trouble for fighting quite often.
Connor enlisted in the U.S Marine Corp as a rifleman in the infantry right out of highschool, spending four years in active duty, and taking part in Operation Earnest Will and other minor conflicts after the Iraq-Iran war. After serving his fourth year, Connor realized he didn't want to make a career out of the military as his family had before him, instead he used the four-year military scholarship plan and decided to go to a Law enforcement academy in Seattle, Washington. Now graduated, he has been a deputy in Cartwright Falls Sheriffs department for two years.

Skills- Military training (Hand-to-hand, sidearms, rifles)
Disciplined (Great mental health and willpower)

Mental State- As a veteran, Connor is no stranger to death, but he is slightly stricken by the fact that the murder of a sixteen year old happened in his hometown. Other than frustration and worry, he is in peak mental health.

So begins...

Connor Adams's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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Connor parked his cruiser in his designated parking spot in front of the Sheriffs department. Looking out the window, he raised an eyebrow, spotting Eli and Hayden's vehicles as well as one he didn't recognize. He stepped out of the vehicle, but continued to stare at the car as he made his way to the glass doors in the front, opening the door and stepping into the slightly warmer lobby, then after punching in his identification number on another door so that it would unlock, he made his way to the squad room in the back.

Upon entering the room, he heard Eli speaking to someone in the adjacent conference room, so after setting his uniform jacket in a chair, he moved to the Conference room door and knocked on it lightly before entering. The first thing he noticed were two men, one, obviously the member of some Agency from his apparel choice and the way he carried himself was speaking ti the sheriff, the other was talking to Hayden in another area of the room.
Eli and the sharply dressed man looked towards the door as Connor entered.
"The search party has been called off for tonight, Sheriff", Connor said. "Anything else you need me to do?".
Eli looked at Barton and the Deputy.
"Actually yes. This is Agent Barton from the FBI. He and his partner", Eli gestured over to the man who was standing with Hayden, "have taken over the investigation, and we're to help them with whatever we can. I need you to take Agent Barton down to Choppers and help him while I take care of some other things".
"Understood", Connor replied, then turned to the FBI agent.
"A pleasure to meet you, Sir." Connor said, the "sir" being something he still hadn't shaken off from his time in the Marines, as well as the way he stood at attention as he lifted his hand to Barton in invitation of a handshake. "I'm Deputy Connor Adams".

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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#, as written by Bosch
While the two teams got to know each other Eli collected his notes and prepared to leave. He finally addressed the room one last time.

“Right guys keep me, and each other, posted with what’s happening checkins every couple of hours ok?”

He then made his goodbyes and offered to meet up with the teams later in the day.

Outside the conference room Eli made a beeline for his office where he dropped his notes on his desk. He glanced out of the window at the deeply wooded hills and thought about Karen Fellows, terrified and alone with whatever had mutilated Julian Bishop. A shudder ran down his spine and he quickly cleared the image from his mind.

“Someone walk on your grave Sheriff?”

Eli turned to see Justine standing in the doorway of his office.

“What?”

“You shuddered... It was something my mother used to say.”

Eli nodded, something about the saying had always bothered him so he changed the subject.

“I’m heading out to the Bishop place. I’m going to give Cassandra an update, tell her the FBI has arrived. Then I’ll swing by the Fellows.”

“Ok Sheriff I was just coming to see if you wanted a coffee.”

“Naw I’m jittery enough already.”

It was raining pretty heavily when Eli left the station and his knee was starting to ache. The snow would be falling pretty soon and Eli was glad the search teams were back. The woods could be unforgiving at this time of year. He remembered the story of the original settlers of Cartwright Falls who got caught out by the weather and started munching on each other when they eaten everything else. They said it was almost as bad as the Donner Party, people went insane and there were murders. Of course old spooky stories still circulated the town around Halloween that the town was cursed because of what the settlers had done to survive then inevitably someone would jump out of the bushes and everyone would have a good laugh. All towns had stories like that.

Eli was piloting the Bronco past Choppers when he saw Tiffany Swan sitting outside the bar obviously waiting out the rain. He liked Tiff and felt sorry that her Mom was lush but that wasn’t his problem, Tiff’s shoplifting was. He just hoped the Louis Lane stuck because he hated being a hardass with her.

The girl looked towards his Bronco and caught his eye. Eli gave her a I’m watching you gesture before driving off, always important to keep on top of repeat offenders.

Eli pulled up in front of the Bishop house, his knee was feeling tight so he popped a pain killer and swallowed it dry. He then got out of the Bronco and walked up the short path to the house. He rapped the door and waited for a response.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Barton smiled as warmly as he could manage in the morbid situation. "Thomas Barton. I prefer just Barton, no sirs." He took the Deputy's hand and shook, noticed his expression at feeling only three fingers and a thumb gripping. "My pinky? Lost it back in secondary school," he explained with a shrug. He released the Deputy's hand and cocked his head briefly, considering the trucker's bar. "I suppose we should get going to this Chopper's, then. I hope you don't mind driving; I drove Deacon here and myself all the way up here and I'm a bit tired of taking the wheel." He led the way out of the Sheriff's building and into the parking lot. "I, uh, don't know which is yours..." He followed the Deputy to his vehicle, perfectly willing to let him take the lead until they got to Choppers.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Connor walked to his Cruiser with Barton following.
"Hop in", Connor said as he opened the driver side door and unlocked the passenger door, allowing Barton to climb into the car.
The Ex-marine slid the key into the ignition, turning on the engine before backing out of his parking spot and exiting the parking lot, heading for Choppers. The duo drove on in silence for a couple of minutes before Connor decided to clear his throat and break the silence.
"This whole thing isn't right.", he said, glancing over at Barton before looking back at the road. "Things like this don't happen in towns like this...hell, they shouldn't happen at all". Connor sighed quietly. "I was born and raised here, in this town. It just seems..perverse...Like something sanctified was violated." Connor looked back over at Barton.
"It doesn't feel safe anymore", he finished just before they pulled into the parking lot of the slightly crowded bar.
"Here we are", Connor muttered as he stepped out of the Deputy Cruiser and looked up, noticing the dark clouds in the sky.
Just as he and Barton exited the cruiser, thunder rumbled through the air and it began to sprinkle, and before the Agent and Deputy made it to the covered area just outside the doors, the sky had opened up.
The two quickly made there way to the door, but Connor paused as he noticed someone familiar.
"Ms. Swan", Connor said to the young woman on the bench, then turned to look out into the downpour outside.
"You need a ride?", the Deputy asked. "We're just going to be in Choppers for a bit, this man is with the FBI", Connor said, gesturing at Barton.
"If you want to wait here for a bit, I can--". Suddenly, Connor was interrupted by what might have been the loudest thunder he had ever heard, until he noticed the pillar of fire and smoke in the distance.
After being momentarily stunned from the suddenness of the blast, Connor grabbed his radio and pressed a button down on the side with a click.
"Dispatch, this is Deputy Adams, over". he said as he quickly made his way to his car
Adams this is dispatch, you saw it too?, the female dispatchers slightly shaky voice said over the radio.
"Yeah, have EMS and firefighters on standby until I get the location of the explosion", the Deputy said, not waiting for a response as he opened his car door, waited for Barton to get in in the passenger side, then peeled out of the bar parking lot.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Barton may not have exactly enjoyed the car ride to Chopper's, and didn't like the sudden downpour, but he would rather have dealt with all of that, and a bar fight as well, than hear the explosion that he heard. Speechless, he followed Connor to the car, feeling for the pistol beneath his coat. He had that, and an extra magazine, but had left his Ruger in the car at the Sheriff's station. "I don't like this at all," he muttered. "That explosion cannot be a coincidence. I have no reason to think it anything but a coincidence...it's too random. But I have a feeling. This is related to Julian. It must be."

He was silent for the rest of the way back to the site of the fire. He got out of the car before it was even off, hesitating to draw his pistol at what looked by all accounts to be a horribly-timed accident. "Must be gas," he muttered at the sight, before approaching. He called back to Connor, "Who lived here?" A second later, he dismissed the question. "Never mind; it doesn't matter. You get the fire department here; I'm going to see if anybody made it out. The whole house isn't on fire yet; we might have some people still inside." He sprinted towards the house, defying every sensible instinct in his body that told him to run away. He had to see if anybody was alive: as long as the house was not completely consumed there was hope. He ran up to the house, then around its perimeter. Behind the house, he found three people, all clearly injured. Only one of them appeared fully conscious.

Barton slowed as he approached. "I'm here to help," he shouted over the roar of the fire. "We need to get you away from this house, then we can start-" He stopped abruptly as he recognized Sheriff Carter. Was he dead? He was certainly shot. "Oh Jesus Christ," Barton muttered to himself, then tapped the only conscious person on the shoulder, a tall young man, probably a student at the high school. "I'll get the Sheriff, you get the girl. We can't stay this close to the house." Without waiting for an answer, Barton heaved the Sheriff's limp form over his shoulders in a fireman's carry, bitterly happy that he could hear the man moan. So he was alive after all, but probably not for long.

Barton let instinct take over as he half-ran away from the house, hoping and trusting that the others were following.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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"Dispatch, this is Deputy Adams", Connor said into his radio as he and Thomas exited the car, and the Agent began searching around the house.
"Send EMS and an Engine to the Bishop household".
"Roger that, Adams. Two ambulance, and an engine are enroute, ETA 3 minutes". Came the female voice over his radio.
"Roger, I'll keep you posted, Adam's out." Connor's stomach dropped when he looked up and noticed Sheriff Carter's cruiser in the drive way.
If they got out, why is his cruiser still here?, Connor thought to himself as he sprinted up the porch to the partially open door.
He didn't bother using his hands, he planted his shoulder into the door, swinging it inward as he attempted to enter the house, but was defeated by the flames in the living room and intense heat escaping out of the opening he had created. Again he attempted to enter the burning house, making it in just a bit further, but a flaming beam that had been weakened by the explosion broke off and swung down from the ceiling, clipping Connor from shoulder to hip on his left side as he attempted to leap out of the way and spinning him into the wall adjacent to the door.
The Deputy managed to drag himself out of the house, struggling to breathe from the smoke and the impact he had taken.
Connor looked down to inspect the damage he had inflicted to himself, and noticed the side of his uniform was on fire, so in a half-panic, he quickly patted the flames out as he limped back to his Cruiser and waited for Thomas.
A few moments later, The FBI Agent came around the corner of the house, carrying an unconscious and bleeding Carter, while behind him, an injured teenage boy was half dragging a girl probably of equal age. Connor began to relax, until he noticed he gunshot wounds on the young man and the Sheriff.
Without thinking, he drew his service revolver and turned the safety off, crouching behind his car enough to keep in cover, but out enough so he could cover Thomas and the survivors. When Thomas got to the Cruiser, Connor let his body slide to a sitting position, relaxing his injured hip.
"EMS and A fire engine are on their way, just a couple of minutes out...looks like this place just turned into a crime scene". He said as he dropped his revolver to free up a hand to put pressure on Eli's still bleeding wound and used his other hand to check for a carotid pulse. He then turned towards the young man.
"How're you holding up, kid?".

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop
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"Nathanial," she murmured, "my mother's at the hospital. Cassandra Bishop. She'll know what to do." She then leaned in close and brought her lips closer to his ear.
"Cassandra Bishop. Ask for her at the hospital."

Juliet then began to fade back into the land of unconsciousness. Nathanial cradled her in his arms while he tried to think what to do, his entire body was screaming out in pain and he couldn’t think clearly, he had gotten the three of them out of the house. But now he needed to get them to a hospital, something that he was not in the state to do.

Suddenly a man walked around the corner of the house yelling towards them, Nathanial put a hand on the gun in case this was the assailant. "I'm here to help. We need to get you away from this house, then we can start - "
The man looked to the sheriff and froze mid-sentence, taking in his wounds Nathanial supposed. "I'll get the Sheriff, you get the girl. We can't stay this close to the house."

It was then Juliet tried to stand. "The priest!" she called weakly. "There's another person inside the house - the priest!"
Nathanial held onto Juliet so she wouldn’t fall, he held her in a protective grip.

“Juliet I think he is gone… It’s a miracle that the sheriff and I survived the explosion, anyone else would surely have been killed.”
He then nodded to the man and supporting Juliet followed the man towards the road. As Nathanial got to the front of the house he saw the deputy brandishing his gun, he then spoke to the group.

"EMS and A fire engine are on their way, just a couple of minutes out...looks like this place just turned into a crime scene".
Nathanial let out a shy of relief on hearing this news, he needed to readjust his grip on Juliet so she wouldn’t fall. The deputy then turned to him.
"How're you holding up, kid?"

Nathanial looked to the man and forced a smile.
“I am just happy that most of us got out of the house alive… Juliet said another man was in there, he would be dead for sure by now, if not by the explosion the fire would have gotten him.” He then put his free hand over his bullet wound. “The faster we get medical attention the better, those two are worse off than I am from the looks of it. But at this point I’m running on adrenaline.”
---
After a short wait, the ambulances began to show up, the sheriff and the deputy were shepherded into one and Nathanial and Juliet went into the other. It was a short trip back to the hospital, and once they were there they were rushed into emergency, the sheriff had a swarm of doctors on him before he was even in the doors. As Nathanial was set up on a stretcher he turned to one of the orderly’s.
“There is a nurse here, Cassandra Bishop. Her daughter is the girl over there. Make sure you let her know as soon as possible.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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After the examination of Julian's body at the morgue Hayden and Temple had agreed that maybe a visit to the library would be beneficial to their investigation. The librarian had a bit surprised to see the pair enter the building, commenting how she hadn't seen Hayden in a few years. The young deputy had tell the elderly woman that she was in the middle of an investigation with Temple in order for the lady to leave them alone. Of course it took more than one attempt for the librarian, Mrs Smith, to actually get the hint which Temple found to be a bit amusing.

They split the work accordingly; Temple taking the research of the symbol since he already had experience in this department, and Hayden dredging up every last bit of info on the history since the founding of the town.

"This sucks." Hayden muttered to herself as she flipped through another book. She had just finished raiding through a copy of an original settler named 'Ellie Finnegan' and was rather disturbed by what happened at the beginning of Cartwright's founding. Cannibalism had always been an interesting topic in psychology and cultural studies. There were really only two reasons humans would begin eating each other, religious purposes or starvation, and considering the writings of the woman from the late 19th century it was stated why it had been done. Even still, Hayden could never see herself eating another person, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Find anything interesting?" Temple asked has he made his way over to the deputy. His search had come up fruitless for the weird symbol. He couldn't find it on any occult websites or the FBI databases. There was no record of it beyond Cartwright.

"More like creepy..." Hayden said, closing the book she was skimming through. "The only thing I could actually find was a supposed name for the area before it was settled by the original town founder, something like 'The Forest of Eyes'. That was it though, you know beyond the crazy of the first settlement group. Apparently they were murdered by Natives and the three survivors were found insane, all of which happened after they succumbed to cannibalism because of starvation." She had also read repots by a Captain Dale Cooper who discovered those still alive in Cartwright.

"That's…nice." To Temple it would appear the sunny, good ol' American town of Cartwright held more secrets than one would thing. Suddenly Hayden's walkie talkie went off, a flutter of static and loud voices. The library was dead silent at this time of the day and the words spoken by Deputy Adams were clear. Within moments the two were out of the building and into Hayden's cruiser.

________________


By the time the duo arrived at the Bishop household the scene was filled with people; firefighters, police, and even curious neighbors. It was chaotic and loud, the smell of smoke filling the air as the firefighters continued to combat the blaze.

Hayden rushed ahead of her assigned FBI partner and all but interrogated one of the other officers on the scene. Apparently when the Sheriff came to interview Juliet there was a shooter and the two, along with another teen, were forced to seek cover in the house before the assailant essentially blew up the house and fled the scene. After a few more moments of talking, Hayden decided that she was going to the hospital; to interview the victims and check up on Eli. She'd have to give Justine a call as well to make sure the woman was doing ok considering what was happening.

"You okay?" Temple asleep as the two made their way back to her car.

"I'm fine…it's just things like this aren't supposed to happen in Cartwright." She sighed heavily as she plopped into the driver's seat. The brunette rested her head on the steering wheel, her eyes closed as she took a deep breath. Temple frowned.

"Not to sound like a jerk kid, but you need to get yourself together. You have a job to do and this isn't the time for you to lose focus." Temple said seriously as he watched Hayden. The car was silent as he sat in the passenger seat and the deputy didn't move. When he was about to say something else she sat up and looked at him before giving a nod and started the car back up.

As she was pulling away they were flagged down by Agent Barton. Hayden rolled down her window and asked the man if he needed what was wrong. "I just need a ride to the police station." The five minute right to the police station was quiet, but as Barton left the vehicle Hayden spoke. "I just wanted to say thanks, for helping the sheriff." The silence continued for another fifteen minutes as they drove to the hospital.

The Cartwright hospital was never a chaotic place, but with the explosion there was a little more activity than usual. Temple was silent behind her as Hayden made her way to the from desk. "Hello, I'm Deputy Montgomery and this is Special Agent Temple of the FBI. I was wondering where we could find the two kids brought in from the Bishop house. Also, is Sheriff Carter alright?"

The nurse gave her wide eyes and nodded her head. She was young and petite, her black hair up in a neat ponytail "Of course officers, right now the sheriff's in surgery so I don't have the most up to date information on his condition but Juliet and Nathan are this way." The nurse stepped out from behind the counter, leading the two down a hall to where the two teens would be.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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Barton sighed and licked his lips nervously as he watched the ambulances arrive. They had hardly been here a few hours and already things were escalating. This couldn't be completely related, however: torture murderers and shooters, no matter the public perception, were not similar. Whoever had killed Julian Bishop had not been the same culprit as the one behind this shooting. And whoever was behind this was clearly very well-armed, as no ordinary handgun could have shot out an electrical box so easily. He and Adams had investigated the remains of the house and found a wallet. Inside was a driver's license for a "Kyle Renner," at an address in Los Angeles. In addition, there were several receipts, or rather parts of receipts, partly burned, for several stores. The items included general camping gear, and...ammunition. To be specific, 9mm pistol ammunition and .22 Long Rifle. Barton hardly needed to tap into his detective mode to make the connection. He had scribbled into his notebook a reminder, "Kyle Renner call LAPD". If things quieted down for a second, he would make that call.

He glanced around, and saw Deacon and Deputy Montgomery leaving in the Deputy's car. In a flash, he realized: He only had his Glock. Against a man armed with a hunting rifle and a pistol, he needed more. Deacon had his AR-15 and Barton had his Ruger...and both of them were at the police station, in their car. Sonofabitch, Barton thought to himself before running up and flagging the car down. Deputy Montgomery poked her head out, confused, and asked him what was wrong. Barton shook his head quickly. "Nothing's wrong, I just need a ride to the police station." He slipped in quickly, and was quiet as they rode over. When they arrived, he tapped Deacon on the shoulder. "I'll get your rifle, and I'll have mine. The shooter had a rifle; we need to be ready for him." He heard the Deputy as he left the car, but ignored it for the moment, and quickly retrieved Deacon's rifle and spare magazines from the car. He gave Deacon the unloaded rifle and magazines, then addressed Montgomery. "It's all in the line of duty. You can think me by making sure he stays alive. I'm going to follow you in my car in a few minutes."

He returned to the car, and retrieved the black case that held his own rifle and ammunition. He stopped under the awning of the police station and outfitted himself, loading a magazine into the rifle but keeping it uncocked for safety's sake. He then strapped on the small belt for the other magazines, and slung the rifle over his shoulder. He then glanced in, and saw the receptionist. He decided to stop in and ask about any information the Sheriff had that he didn't. Something new might have come in. He stepped inside, removing his wet hat and shaking it briefly onto the rain mat before walking up to the desk. "Agent Barton, FBI. You might remember me," he said tersely. "Listen, with the Sheriff out of commission and this being an FBI case now, I just need to know if there is any information the Sheriff has that we don't. Or if anything—anything—has come in since then." It was a shot in the dark, but it could work.

It did. "Actually, yes, we got a report from searching the woods for campers. It's in the Sheriff's office," the receptionist replied.

Barton smiled. "Thank you." He meant that. He entered the Sheriff's office, and found the paper there, in a manila folder. He opened it, and read quickly. They had found only one person out there, a guy out camping and hunting, a Kyle...Kyle Renner. Barton snapped the folder closed in his surprise. "Oh Christ," he muttered, then hurried out. He'd make that call the moment he got to the hospital. Deacon and the Deputies had to know about this. He hurried out, quickly placing the rifle in the empty passenger seat before firing up the car and driving out at a speed probably unsafe for rain. He clicked windshield wipers on and made his way to the hospital. Wasn't hard in a town as small as Cartwright Falls.

He was a sight as he burst into the hospital, aggravated, wet, and with a rifle slung on his shoulder. He fished his badge out as quickly as he said, "There's another FBI Agent here along with a Deputy, maybe two. I need to see them immediately." He was pointed down the hall, where he recognized Deacon's bald head and distinctive clothing immediately. He jogged up to them, tapped Deacon on the shoulder, held up the manila folder. "This was in the Sheriff's office. They searched the woods around Cartwright Falls, I guess for possible witnesses. They found a Kyle Renner out there, camping and hunting. We found a wallet belonging to Mr. Renner in the ruins of the house. He lived in Los Angeles, California. His wallet also contained receipts from hunting and outdoors shops, and has evidence of ammunition purchases. Whatever you were doing just now, do it; I need to phone the Los Angeles Police Department right now."

He left as suddenly as he had arrived, returning to the front desk of the hospital. He removed the rifle from his shoulder and placed it on a chair nearby, then did likewise with his coat, before re-slinging the rifle. He then turned to the front desk. "Is there a telephone I can use, with a phone book? I have some calls to make."

An intern guided him to a phone in another room. Barton thanked him tersely, then started flipping through the phone book quickly. Slowly, he enunciated to himself, "Los Angeles Police Department." A few moments of silent looking. "Here!" He muttered, then dialed quickly. He put the headset to his ear quickly, biting his lip nervously. There had to be something about Renner in the LAPD records. Maybe he stole the guns he had used.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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After the incident at the Bishop household, the paramedics checked out Connor''s injuries, and after a small argument, convinced him to make a visit to the hospital for X-rays, but he insisted he take his own Cruiser. Upon arrival, the Deputy decided to stall on the X-ray, and attempt to find Sheriff Carter, but to his dismay, he hadn't even cleared surgery yet.
The Deputy sat down in the lobby, his X-ray forgotten, instead, Connor found himself distracted by the thought of recent events. The sheriff, Renner, the Bishop Household incident. Could the shooting that involved the victims family have really been a coincidence? Especially in such a town as Cartwright Falls?
Shit like this is why we have the FBI... Connor thought to himself.
As if on cue, Barton burst into the hospital, soaked and armed. He made his way down a hallway and was gone for a few moments before returning and quickly walking to the front desk, appearing to a bit animated as he spoke to the receptionist who later led him to the phone room.
Connor followed and waited outside the room for the Agent to appear, and after a minute or so he got his wish.
"So, what's the deal with the investigation?", Connor asked when Barton finally exited the room.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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"Alright, thank you very much Commissioner," Barton muttered in flat astonishment, before hanging the phone up. He then realized that throughout this he had not taken off his hat. He did so and began pocketing his notebook as he left the phone room.

Deputy Adams was waiting right outside. "So, what's the deal with the investigation?"

Barton jumped at the sudden greeting, then composed himself quickly and fished his notebook back out, checking it occasionally to make sure he got this or that detail right. "Got lots of information on Kyle Renner. Not only does he appear the most likely candidate to be the shooter at the Bishop household, thanks to the wallet we found, but he's also wanted back in Los Angeles, as the prime suspect in the murder of Tanya Renner and Chris Avalon. Tanya was seeing Chris behind Kyle's back. Their bodies were found in the Renners' bedroom closet; she had been strangled and he had been bludgeoned. They were found by the cleaning lady two days after Kyle had left, and three days after their deaths. He told friends he was going up to hunt by here to clear his head, not mentioning the double murder, of course." He tossed his hat to rest atop his folded overcoat and sighed. "There's not much we can do now except watch out and hope to catch him before he gets away again.

"More importantly," he continued, changing topic, "We need to figure out if there's a connection with Julian Bishop's murder. Right now the only connection we have is that the shooter—probably Renner—struck the Bishop household. He could have been stalking the Sheriff, or he could have picked the place at random. Right now...we just have too many damned variables. And a shooter out there. I hope you guys have rifles; if those receipts are accurate, Renner has .22 Long Rifle, and that shit has range."

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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''Got lots of information on Kyle Renner. Not only does he appear the most likely candidate to be the shooter at the Bishop household, thanks to the wallet we found, but he's also wanted back in Los Angeles, as the prime suspect in the murder of Tanya Renner and Chris Avalon. Tanya was seeing Chris behind Kyle's back. Their bodies were found in the Renners' bedroom closet; she had been strangled and he had been bludgeoned. They were found by the cleaning lady two days after Kyle had left, and three days after their deaths. He told friends he was going up to hunt by here to clear his head, not mentioning the double murder, of course." Barton explained to Connor, tossing his hat on his folded coat.
"There's not much we can do now except watch out and hope to catch him before he gets away again. More importantly, we need to figure out if there's a connection with Julian Bishop's murder. Right now the only connection we have is that the shooter—probably Renner—struck the Bishop household. He could have been stalking the Sheriff, or he could have picked the place at random. Right now...we just have too many damned variables. And a shooter out there. I hope you guys have rifles; if those receipts are accurate, Renner has .22 Long Rifle, and that shit has range.".
Connor nodded, taking in all the information and running through his head before opening up with a response.
"Well, if he's out in the woods...I know that there's an abandoned Mine out next to Hunters Clearing...the clearing is a popular spot for tourists and hunters out in the woods. I know how to get there, my dad and I hunted out there a lot before I went into the Marines". Connor said.
"It can't be a coincidence that this Renner guy's wallet was found at a crime scene, and if it is...well then we can hand him over to your agency and get him nailed for double homicide". the Deputy continued.
"As for weapons, I think I have something better than a .22", he said, a small grin on his face. "I'm a damn good shot with the 30-06, and we keep three of them in the armory up at the station, their powerful, and they have range, the only draw back is the bolt-action style." He said.
"So, Agent Barton. What do you say we grab you're partner, Hayden and a few other volunteers, gear up at the station and head out on a man-hunt?".

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Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Hayden looked Agent Temple and thought the man looked tired, the case was having that effect on everyone. She could only imagine how it must have felt for the FBI agents tasked with clearing up the mess.

“Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

Hayden looked at the two battered kids and tried a half smile.

“Guess you two must be pretty tired? The other deputies are trying to organise some accommodation for you and your Mom, Juliet. It looks like she’s going to be tied up here for some time though.”

“Yeah and wherever you end up we’re going to post two deputies in a Bronco out front. Just until we understand what’s going on here.” Temple thought it looked like the girl was about to protest. “This is non-negotiable, at the moment your safety is paramount.”

Hayden produced a large brown paper bag. “I figured you’d want a change of clothes so here’s some stuff we were able to scrounge from around the station. It’s all Sheriff’s Department stuff so don’t expect it to be terribly flattering but I suppose you’ll want to get changed.”

“Alexander, best for you to go home and when you do move bring someone along with you.”
Temple produced two business cards from his wallet. “This has my pager number. Feel free to page anytime day or night. If it’s trouble add 911 to the page and I’ll get to you as soon as possible. Obviously call the Sheriff’s Department first.”

Hayden patted her uniform and found a pen she scribbled the Sheriff Department’s number on the back of Temple’s business cards before handing them over to the kids.

“Remember call me day or night if you remember anything.” Temple said with a forced smile. Witnesses weren’t really his thing.

“Deputy, lets go.”

#

Hayden and Temple approached the Reception just as Adams was finishing up his plan.

“…what do you say we grab you're partner, Hayden and a few other volunteers, gear up at the station and head out on a man-hunt?".

“Man hunt? You have a lead? Those kids didn’t see much, guess they were too busy trying to survive.”

Hayden returned to the group as she had been speaking to Justine to organise the Deputies to look after Juliet.

“They’re pretty shook up. That poor girl.”

Temple nodded. “So what’s the story Bart?”

Before Barton could answer Doctor Lawson emerged from behind a pair of double doors.

“Ok folks it’s starting to look like an NRA meeting in here. Can you take it outside? We need some room.”

#

The city was a dot in the distance now and all Blake could see was miles of wilderness below.

“Pretty big eh?” The pilot crackled in his headset.

“Yeah lots of places to hide.”

“Telling me. I work with the Volunteer Mountain Rescue team that works the woods. Lost hikers are like a needle in a hay stack.” He was complaining but he
sounded cheery.

“Mountain Rescue eh? What’s your name?”

“Bradley Vickers pleased to meet you.”

“Yeah likewise. Bradley do you know what a secondment is?”

“Uh not really.”

“It means you work for me now, Brad. How long ‘till we arrive at Cartwright Falls?”

“About Twenty Minutes.” Bradley said the cheeriness gone from his voice.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: David Blake
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Barton nodded slowly at the idea. "Ordinarily I would not recommend a full-on manhunt, not in this weather and at this time, but-"

"Okay folks, it’s starting to look like an NRA meeting in here. Can you take it outside? We need some room.”

Barton shrugged as he turned to Temple. "Let's get outside, then I'll fill everyone in." He quickly removed his rifle, donned his coat and hat, and re-slung the rifle before heading out into the rain. He stayed under the awning as he spoke to the others. "In short, Deputy Adams and I found the wallet of a Mr. Kyle Renner right near one of the windows. Presumably he dropped it at some point. It had receipts stuffed in it for outdoor supplies and ammunition, Parabellum and .22 LR. I did some talking with the LAPD Commissioner, and it turns out Renner's wanted down there now for double homicide, killing his wife and her secret boyfriend. As far as his friends knew he was just coming up here to hunt, which he's done before. He's driving a Toyota Hi-Lux, gray, and has a .22 LR caliber rifle and a pistol. He is to be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Deputy Adams here says you have thirty-aught-six rifles at the station. I move we pair off, one Agent one Deputy, to have a balance of armaments. I can get us all over to the Station to get the Deputies armed, then two take the FBI car and two take a Deputy's car, and we start combing the town. I don't know this town as well as you two," he said, gesturing to the Deputies, "So I'll leave the routes to you for the time being, so long as we get the town covered."

He breathed for a few seconds. Two long monologues in as little time. "Right, let's get going, then." He led them to the FBI car, and they piled in. He drove as quickly as seemed safe, his eyes darting around, watching as much for a Toyota Hi-Lux as for where he was going. As they arrived at the station, he quickly established a shooting position of sorts near the front of the Station, watching for any unwanted visitors. He saw one only a few minutes after he settled in. However, this was not a car, but a helicopter. He quickly left the station, standing under the awning as the chopper's passenger disembarked and approached the station. He recognized the fairly infamous face immediately, one that he connected to the Michelle Halpert case and the FBI, much the same way one connected Richard Nixon to Watergate. Professional infamy aside, Barton had no love lost for the man he now addressed stiffly. "Good evening, David. Hell of a way to make an entrance."

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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#, as written by Bosch
“Why so glum Partner?”

Eli turned on the stool to see a tall man wearing what to Eli looked like a brown Stetson or other type of cowboy hat and a long black duster. The hat obscured the man’s face with shadow. His dirty, naked feet were resting on the table in front of him, muck seemed to ooze from the man’s pores and land with thick splats on the table. He produced a cigarette along with a lighter seemingly from thin air and while he lit the smoke his face was illumined showing a craggy face with dark eyes that seemed to suck in surrounding light.

“I’m having a strange night.” The man’s bizarre appearance put Eli on edge so he turned back to the bar.

“I suppose you are, Eli.”

Eli spun in his stool and faced the man.

“How’d you know…”

“Eli please, let’s not ask stupid questions.”

Eli didn’t know what to say it was like the cogs in his brain were barley turning.

“You’re dying, what does that feel like?” The man was talking to Eli but also thinking aloud.

“I’m not I’m…”

“Ticket sir.”

The man with the “Staff” badage was standing beside Eli with his hole punch at the read. “It’s time to punch your ticket.”

Eli handed over his ticket and with a quick click the bald man punched a hole in Eli’s Ticket.

“If you’ll follow me sir your party is waiting.”

“My party?”

“Yes Miss Elizabeth Button.”

“Lizzie?”

The car crash and the girl with the flame red hair came flooding back to him.

“Little lizzie? She finally got invited to the big party. I had fun with her.”

Eli looked at the man in confusion.

“You were there when I came for her. How she screamed your name.”

“Sir please.” The bald man said as he gently took Eli by the elbow. “Just follow me.”

Eli stood and followed the man toward the Dining room. The large imposing doors swung open and Eli found himself engulfed in a white light.

#

Lawson was moving as soon as the siren started to beep and the voice over the PA system announced a code blue in room 142.
Eli’s room.

“Jesus I need a crash cart. 142! 142!”

Lawson took the elevator as he knew his old bones would be much slower on the stairs. By the time he made it to Eli the nurses were already starting in intubate
and Lawson immediately took over. Eli was asphyxiating on his own vomit which was pouring out of the Sheriff’s mouth. Lawson needed to get past that open and airway or else the Sheriff would surely die. Time was critical as the longer Lawson took the less of Eli’ mind there would be left to save.

Suddenly Eli’s body was wracked with spasms and Lawson felt the tube tube slip from his grasp. The vomit turned red telling Lawson that the tube had damaged something. The nurses tried to secure Eli while Lawson prepared a muscle relaxant. The spasms were costing seconds that should be spent getting oxygen to Eli’s brain in addition to wasting whatever oxygen was left in Eli’s body.

Lawson cursed softly.

#

She was in a red dress and sitting alone stirring the ice in her drink with a muddler. The blad man showed Eli to his seat which he collapsed into.

“Lizzie?” He croaked as his throat felt scratchy.

“I wasn’t expecting you so soon but I’m glad you’re here.”

“Where is here?”

“Don’t be dense. Whats the last thing you remember before arriving?”

“Getting shot.”

“And now you’re talking to your dead high school sweetheart.”

“So I’m dead?”

“Oh yeah.”

Eli didn’t have any strong feelings about that which scared him.

“It alright though Eli you still have a job to do.”

“I thought heaven was supposed to be a relaxing place.”

“This look like heaven to you?”

She had always given him a hard time, in fact it was something he loved about her.

“So where are we?”

“Let’s call it Limbo. You met the cowboy out there?”

“Yeah he said he knew you.”

“That’s… We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about getting out of here.”

“Ok how do we do it?”

“Him, the Cowboy he’s keeping us here, we keep him alive but not well fed.”

“Fed?”

“Fear, he needs fear, but the dead provide much at least not here in Limbo.”

“So what’s he doing?”

“We have a lot to talk about before we can get into that.”

#

“Time of death 2015 hours.” Lawson said with a shake of his head.

Finally Eli was at rest. The spasms hadn’t stopped until the Sheriff’s heart had finally given out. Only a nurse remained scribbling some final pieces of paperwork
while Lawson cleaned up Eli. He closed the Sheriff’s eyes and wiped the blood and vomit from the man’s chin.

“Are you alright Doctor Lawson?”

It was Nurse Oldman, a young man with sandy blonde hair.

“I’m fine Tim. I knew his father, he was a good man like his son.”

Lawson turned and Tim noticed the red rims around the Doctor’s eyes. He knew Lawson found it hard to remain detached from his patients but he’d never seen the man so open with grief. For a brief instant Tim saw Lawson as an elderly man and not the brilliant Doctor with unlimited energy he usually saw.

“Doctor I’m going to call the on call. I think you shoul take a few hours it’s been a really long day.”

He thought Lawson would argue but the Doctor just clapped Tim on the shoulder and walked off toward his office.

Tim made his way to reception and after filing the paperwork related to Eli’s death he picked up the phone and punched in the on call Doctor’s Phone Number.

“Hello, I’m looking for Doctor Saunders.”

#

Adams was explaining how he had arrived at the decision to start a man hunt to Hayden and Temple when Blake and Barton entered.

“So Hank Phillips ran into a hunter out in the woods took his name and gave the list to the Sherriff. With… everything that’s happened the Sherriff never got to see the list. Agent Barton and I only discovered it when we got back here.”

The phone rang and Justine answered as Blake and Barton joined the conversation while Deputy Adams continued his brief.

“Ok so with the weather the way it is Renner will need shelter and there are a few places the Guy could have gone. There’s the mine not far from where he was found and the Saw mill is pretty close too. He’ll be wanting to keep off the roads because of the police presence so I reckon he’ll be hiding somewhere till the storm lets him make a move.”

“Yes he’s shot a cop there’s no way he’ll use the Hi-Lux again every badge in the state has that description.”

“Oh my God… Yes thank you, of course…” It was Justine. She hung up the phone and glanced over her desk and the assembled group.

“Sheriff Carter just died in Hospital.”

A stunned silence fell on the group and Blake recognised now was the time to introduce himself. He cleared his throat and addressed the room.

“The death of Sheriff Carter is a tragedy and we will avenge him but the way he would have wanted. I didn’t know the man but he died saving two kids and from what I’ve heard he was fine Lawman, he’d want this motherfucker brought to justice and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Renner will be taken alive and will face his crimes, there will be no reprisals against this man because it will fuck the case we clear here?” He let his words settle before continuing. “Remember we have a missing girl still out there.”

He nodded at Deputy Adams who continued speaking.

“So I think we should hit the mine first then try the Saw mill.”

Blake looked at the map Adams was using as a visual aid. “Ok make it happen. Barton and Temple liaise with the locals and go get this bastard.”

#

Cassandra Bishop watched her child stir in her sleep before she drifted off. Confusion was wracking her, she was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep but she knew it wouldn’t come. For months her dreams had been invaded with dreams of Benson and the dark man, then Julian disappeared. She knew he was dead before they found the body Benson told her in a dream, he taunted her with the knowledge for how her child had died, in agony surrounded by dark figures.

Benson let her hear his screams.

Now all she had left was Juliet and nobody was going to hurt her.

#

The woman approached Nathaniel’s door and gave the door a quick rap. A short house keeper answered the door.

“FBI. I’m Agent Burrows and this Agent Martin. We need to speak to Mr Alexander.”

She flashed the bogus FBI ID and barged into the house. The housekeeper said something about the boy being asleep.

“Well go wake him.” Agent Martin said his goatee twitching with annoyance.

The pair remained in the hallway waiting for Nathaniel to show up. It was unfortunate the housekeeper had seen their faces.

It meant she would be the first to die.

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: David Blake
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Hayden listened intently as Adams explained what they were to do once they started the hunt for the crazed man on the loose. Hunters in the woods weren't exactly rare, especially at this time of the year but the name was unfamiliar to the young deputy. Obviously he wasn't a native of Cartwright.

"Sheriff Carter just died in the Hospital." Justine's sad voice drifted to her ears. Hayden's heart almost stopped in shock as she looked over at the older woman with wide eyes. It seemed like just moments ago that she was at the hospital, Hayden had never expected Eli wouldn't make it through everything.

“The death of Sheriff Carter is a tragedy and we will avenge him but the way he would have wanted. I didn’t know the man but he died saving two kids and from what I’ve heard he was fine Lawman, he’d want this motherfucker brought to justice and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Renner will be taken alive and will face his crimes, there will be no reprisals against this man because it will fuck the case we clear here?” He let his words settle before continuing. “Remember we have a missing girl still out there.”

"I know the Saw mill is easier to get to than the mines, it's a faster trip from the town to there. With the weather the mine could be dangerous, lots of mud and there are sometimes pockets of water that are deeper than they seem. Some places flood when it rains a lot." Hayden spoke up as Blake gave them orders of who should go where.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: David Blake
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Barton shook his head quickly. "We have a bulk of identifying information, but the rifle's for defense. The shooter has a rifle too," he muttered off-handedly before they entered the police station. Barton remained quiet thereafter, listening carefully as Adams finished outlining his plan. He'd have to request a brief repetition for himself and Blake. A moment later, that was forgotten as the bombshell came.

"Sheriff Carter just died in the hospital."

Barton's eyes widened briefly before he clenched them shut tightly. He had only met the Sheriff briefly, but had carried him from the burning Bishop household. Somehow he felt useless, as though his efforts were now wasted. He bowed his head slowly, now unwilling to break the stunned silence. Make that minute a memorial for the dead Sheriff, for they might not have time for a proper memorial later. Unfortunately, Blake broke the silence with a sudden, impromptu speech. Barton never was much for that kind of monologuing, but he had to agree with Blake's sentiment. They could not let a desire for revenge override their duty as law enforcement. Renner would have to answer here for what now racked up to murder, double attempted murder, and arson, and then back home for double murder.

Though Barton hadn't noticed his leaving, Adams suddenly returned after Blake's speech, with a Remington shotgun and a lever-action rifle. Barton raised an eyebrow at the shotgun, but said nothing. It could have slugs loaded...no, a quick glance at the shells as he loaded them revealed all red shells, all buckshot. Odd.

Barton glanced with a small twinge of alarm at Adams' tone, cold and emotionless. This was a sudden change from his previous demeanor, and he didn't like what it boded at all. He silently hoped that Temple and Montgomery would be the duo to find Renner. Regardless, he realized one base that was uncovered, and that could now be covered. "Almost done, just one last thing. We have one more lawman with us now, though we have lost one as well. Blake, we've got two teenagers who survived Renner's attack; Juliet Bishop and Nathaniel Alexander. Alexander's at his house; Juliet's in the hospital. Can you get them both to the same place and keep them safe? We cannot yet rule out the possibility that Renner was targeting them. With that taken care of, though, we are done here. Let's get to stakeouts. I'll drive myself and Adams."

After that abrupt conclusion, Barton then left the station, putting his hat back on as he remembered the rain. It seemed to be getting lighter, though. Hopefully it wouldn't be as bad by the time they reached the mine: trying to see on a rainy night was difficult.

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Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple
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Hayden remained silent and unmoving, numerous thoughts crowding her mind. At the sound of approaching footsteps, she looked up to see Conor heading her way. She was surprised by the shotgun, not expecting him to bring her a gun as well. The young woman accepted it nonetheless, as well as the box of ammo. She took her time in loading the shells into the chamber before cocking to the ready, remembering to switch the safety over once she finished it. As Hayden watched Connor walk away she couldn't help but feel uneasy, she could tell he was angry and not taking the Sheriffs' death well. She was really hoping he wouldn't do anything to dangerous or stupid, their department was already down one great officer.

“Ok Deputy looks like we’re hitting the Saw Mill. This is your neck of the woods so you’re driving.” Hayden looked towards the older man and nodded. Watching him put the vest around his torso made her nervous, she really hoped that if worse came to worse neither she nor Temple would be shot; grazed maybe, but that sure wasn't a reassuring thought. “You got everything you need here? I think we have a spare set of body armor in the car.”

"Thanks." She replied with a small smile, she needed to calm herself or she'd be absolutely no help to the investigation or the manhunt. Walking with Temple outside, she watched as he popped open the trunk of his car before rummaging through it and offering her the spare one he mentioned before. She slipped it on effortlessly, strangely, or maybe not, there had been many instances where she had worn one and not always when she was in the line of duty.

The duo moved towards her car, the snow was falling thicker now. It was becoming the kind that stuck and took forever to melt away. Hayden hoped they'd find Renner before it became a blizzard. She climbed into the drivers seat and slipped the keys into the ignition before blasting the heat in the car, it would only come out cold at first but she really didn't care. Running her hands through her ponytail to dislodge any flakes that may have become stuck, the deputy turned her head towards Temple. "I know this isn't the best time to teach you the way the Mill, but it's simple enough and if something bad happens…" She paused for a moment, re-correcting what she was going to say as to not jinx them in the future. "It would just be bad if I was the only one who knew how to get back to town. Like I said, the directions are simple enough, but in this weather and at night the forest can get tricky to navigate."

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Connor and Thomas drove down the old back road leading in the general area of the old mine as rain and sleet slammed against the Barton's car. The duo had been gone on in uneasy silence for most of the trip, and Deputy Adams knew why. Connor hadn't missed the uneasy behavior exerted by Hayden when she noticed his change in demeanor, and as well trained of an agent as Barton, Adams knew that he would pick up on the behavior change as well.
"Adams", Barton finally said. " You need to calm d-".
"I am calm", Connor spoke in a quiet but obviously hard voice, cutting Barton off.
"Look, I know how you're feeling, I've lost fellow agents before, people I've grown close to in the field, but you can't let it get to you emotionally, at least not right now", Barton said firmly, all the while keeping his eyes glued to the wet road.
"Do your job, mourn later, no screw ups. We don't want to lose another good officer".
Connor felt his anger subside a bit, enough to let him think rationally, but it was still there.
"....Alright, I won't kill Renner, but I seriously hope he resists arrest so I can have an excuse to fuck him up", the deputy muttered.
Connor didn't know if Barton knew he was kidding or not, but frankly neither did Connor.
"We're almost there", Connor finally said, pointing through a group of trees to a clearing jut barely visible in the sleet and darkness.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Kyle Renner Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Barton eyed Adams warily, not sure if the deputy had made a bad joke or really wanted an excuse for some brutality. After gauging him for a moment, he decided it was merely a bad joke and let it go. He nodded after Adams noted the proximity of the mine. Forget everything else; now was time for business. Tonight's business was finding.

He noted the continuing precipitation with displeasure, donning his hat as he parked the car next to a small shelter and crossed through sleet to it. At least they had this much shelter, but he knew they couldn't stay there. If they wanted to find Renner, they would have to be mobile and alert. No shit, he mused. That much was obvious to anybody with a modicum of sleuthing ability. Tonight was going to be very long, and very difficult. They didn't have much of a description for Renner, except that he was in his early 50s and likely wearing hunting camouflage.

Surprisingly, the first other person they saw fit the description well enough, or at least the hunting camouflage part. He seemed to be headed for the mouth of the cave a ways away; Barton couldn't make out much more. He tapped Adams on the shoulder, pointed at the figure, and whispered, "Follow my lead. I'm going to call to him once, then a second time. If he doesn't respond after the second time, shoot into the air on my mark. If he fires on us...try to disable him quickly. Let's go." He moved out into the sleet, holding his rifle at the ready. He flipped the safety off, knowing that violence, while not the best answer, was a possibility.

When they were about 100 yards away from the figure, Barton called out to him. "You there!" It sounded stupid but it was the best idea he had. "This is the FBI! Put the gun down and identify yourself!" The figure ignored him. Barton gritted his teeth, then quickly pulled the Ruger's charging handle back and shouldered it. "I said put the gun down, and identify yourself immediately!" Still the figure seemed to ignore him. He glanced over at Adams. "Warning shot."