7570/Lingering Shadows

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Lingering Shadows
Date of Scene: 27 August 2021
Location: Arkham Asylum Penitentiary
Synopsis: Natasha Cranston is a mystery. In an effort to find answers, Elektra and June have a chat with someone from her past.
Cast of Characters: Natasha Cranston, Elektra Natchios, June Connor

Natasha Cranston has posed:
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

    Outwardly, the first impression most people have of Natasha Cranston is that she's a cheerfully whimsical socialite with more money than sense -- but Elektra knows better than most that appearances can be deceiving, and she caught a glimpse of the mask when she saw her kill a Hand assassin with his own knife before he even realized he wasn't holding it anymore.

    There's more to this woman than meets the eye, and Elektra aims to find out what...

    The most interesting part of her background is the death of her parents; it doesn't take an aviation expert to become suspicious when the plane carrying the CEO and owner of a transportation company renowned for reliability goes inexplicably missing... Especially when the Board of Directors votes in an 'interim Board' to 'oversee matters' within two days of the disappearance and calls off the search almost immediately.

    Unfortunately, while identifying the board members probably involved is easy, talking to them is going to be difficult, because several of them apparently met with... Interesting accidents in the intervening years...

    Donald Matheson, the 'Interim' chairman, is serving at least another decade in jail for embezzlement, tax fraud, and possession with intent to distribute -- apparently the search of his home found enough cocaine to keep two dozen people high for a month and his lawyer didn't even bother trying to argue personal use.

     Mark LeBlanc wasn't wearing a seatbelt when his convertible lost an argument with a truck after he ran a red light; the funeral was closed-casket.

     Alexander Price apparently suffered a stress-related nervous breakdown, was suspended from the board for showing up drunk, and wound up falling fifty stories down off the balcony of his penthouse - although the autopsy suggests that his BAC would more than likely have done him in if he'd taken one more drink. The police report states that his downstairs neighbors heard him loudly arguing at something, but the police found no signs of a break-in or any other presence.

    ... And Quentin Matthews, Donald's successor, apparently likewise had a complete mental breakdown after stepping into the chairman's role, started suffering from paranoia and accusing everyone of secretly conspiring against him. The police report states that they responded to a domestic disturbance call when they stopped him from strangling his wife, accusing him and the police of 'Being in league with HIM', an accusation he likewise flung at the prosecution, the judge, and the psychiatrist called in by his defense counsel. He was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and sentenced to psychiatric observation... In Arkham Asylum.

Elektra Natchios has posed:
Everyone knows that plant accidents happen. Ones carrying important CEOs? Unlikely. But if only one would at the statistics they would note they are so high up there in the casualties rating of such accidents. Not that Elektra would ever admit to having helped such statistics in the past. No need. But she can smell a rat, and this is certainly a big one considering what happened right after the death. Corrupt Board of Directors? They most likely called on the hit.

It bears investigation. Not that Elektra would usually care too much, let secrets be and all that. Yet right now? She needs to figure out if Cranston can be an ally for what she needs. And that requires action.

"Remember. Don't slouch, and we are not here to kill anyone." Elektra is dressed in a dashing dark red pantsuit as they make their way to the gates of Arkham, talking to June. Elektra had given the young woman the info about what they were after here. Info about Natasha Cranston.

And so money had talked. Connections and bribes to get her to this point. Of being taken into the gates of Arkham to talk with one Quentin Matthews. Names provided though? False ones, of course. Money did talk in these situations indeed.

"Mmm, doesn't Gotham look cozy..?" She muses at the looming darkness of the Asylum in front of them.

June Connor has posed:
    Given the nature of the situation, June realizes that her normal aggressive outfits might be a little attention drawing. So she's opted to wear a pair of tight black jeans. They aren't even shredded! And a blue blouse? Nobody better take a picture. Her hair is covered by a far less extreme wig, plain brunette, and her piercings have mostly been removed for the occasion, save for a dual earring on either side. "Don't slouch?" June arches her brow. "Come on, it's not my first time," she says. "Place does give me the creeps, though. Super creeps. I see why they decided to just let this city burn itself down at one point. They shoulda stuck with that."

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Arkham Asylum has something of a reputation. In its defense, some of that is undeserved -- yes, it 'boasts' a higher rate of escapes than almost any other penitentiary or asylum, but most other jails do not have to try to somehow contain multiple extremely intelligent and inventively unpredictable criminal masterminds -- but it does mean that it sometimes has trouble keeping its budget. If not for regular generous donations from various foundations and the fact that nobody /else/ wants to be responsible for keeping the Joker contained, they would have gone under a long time ago.

    As such, they're always eager to accommodate reasonable requests from visitors who are prepared to make substantial donations as well. Elektra and June are greeted at the entrance by a well-groomed man whose lab coat is /entirely/ too clean to be anything other than a prop to look more professional for the guests.

    "Ahh, Mrs Devereaux, miss Devereaux," he warmly greets Elektra and June with a nod that's about one shade short of an actual bow. "Good afternoon and welcome to Arkham Penitentiary. I'm Doctor Farstein; Mr. Matthews' case is currently my responsibility. I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please, step this way..." And half-turns to lead 'mother and daughter' into the building and down the corridors...

Elektra Natchios has posed:
"It should give you the creeps. And we are not even going to the lower levels." Has Elektra been down there? By her tone it seems like it, but she doesn't talk further on it. Instead she only smiles faintly. "If there's anything the Gothamites will ever do is give up. I have learned that a long while back."

Her attention then goes to the gates when they open and the man comes out to greet them. A faint smile, eyes going up and down on that lab coat, noting the cleanness. Cute.

"Thank you, Doctor." Elegant, chin slightly up. But at least she saves the good doctor from actually having to greet her in some old fashioned manner like kissing her hand or anything of the sort, "And thank you for having received us in such short notice. We have been curious about the state of Mr. Matthews, for I know very little on his condition once he disappeared from the limelight." a beat, "Only what I see in the news." a faint smile.

"What can you tell us?"

June Connor has posed:
    June's on the job, her running commentary can wait. Instead, she glances around, taking in the surroundings. Escape paths if there's a problem, potential attack locations. How do you break in to this place? How would you break out? Given that infiltration is her strongest skill set, it's a natural response for her. Physically, though? She just stands politely, making herself a decoration in the scene.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Farstein looks sincerely regretful. "We're taking good care of him, very good care, yes, but I'm sorry to say we haven't made much progress..." He shakes his head. "Of course I can't divulge specific medical details to anyone who isn't next-of-kin, but generally our first step in treatment is to see whether the mind will start pulling itself back together when it's no longer being pulled off-kilter by the after effects of recreational chemicals, but Mr. Matthews has been entirely sober for years now and he is still firmly convinced that... Well, he'll probably tell you himself; he talks about very little else to anyone who'll listen..."

    The corridors are brightly lit, with just the right choices of colors on the walls to seem soothing to the troubled mind. Everything looks clean and what staff they encounter looks fairly profesional. "... And here we are," Doctor Farstein concludes, holding his lanyard to a keycard reader and opening the door to yet another corridor, one that seems more brightly lit than the others. "He's in room 114. I'm afraid his straitjacket won't be removed; he tends to get erratically violent when people decline to share his delusion and assumes they're in league with his enemies..."

Elektra Natchios has posed:
"Paranoia. Fear. It can take hold of our mind if we are not careful." Elektra says with same kind of regretful tone, her eyes going over to June, "... or even rage. It can make us obsessive." is she talking about June now? "Dwell on it too long and eventually it's all we know to be." all polite conversation with the good Doctor!

Posture remains indomitable though, hands folded behind her, back straight, casually avoiding looking at any of the staff directly. No need to have them remember their face.

A nod to the doctor when he warns them about the erratic nature of the patient. "We will be careful. Thank you again, Doctor Farstein." and with that they start making their way down the corridor, looking for that room, high heels echoing on the otherwise emptied corridors. Yes, Elektra certainly doesn't want to be in here more than she needs to. Creepy...

"Lets see how you handle interrogating a crazy one, June." she murmurs while they walk.

June Connor has posed:
    June shifts her eyes toward Elektra, the parallel not lost on her. She rolls her eyes, unable to resist that reflex in the moment. She glances at the hallway. "Yeah," she says carefully. "Sure. Miss Deveraux." She follows down the corridor. Wait, she has to interrogate the lunatic? This ought to be good. "I'm sure it'll be no problem." The tone doesn't betray sarcasm, but..perhaps it was still there.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Normally it's entirely against procedures to let guests speak to a patient unsupervised by the psychiatrist in charge, but Elektra's donation was... Excessive, and when she impressed upon the confidentiality of what she wished to discuss... accomodations were made. Dr. Farstein doesn't look like he's terribly happy about leaving his guests alone, but orders are orders.

    The door to room 114 opens to Elektra's visitor pass, and Quentin - who looks much the worse for wear compared to his photo in the newspaper article - looks up with an expression of surprise. "... Wha? Who are you? You're not doctors..."

    He tries to look directly at his visitors, but to Elektra and June the signs of hyper-vigilance are clear as day -- the flickering of his eyes, trying to keep every part of his cell in sight at all times, the minute flinches at every sudden movement, the way his pulse rate jumped the moment they walked in...

Elektra Natchios has posed:
"No we are not." Elektra greets the man with a brief bow of her head, stepping to a side to let June go in before closing the door behind them. How private is this cell? That's what she tries to find out, a glance here and there as she takes in those places normally used to put surveillance cameras on.

"I am Mrs. Devereaux. This is my daughter." A gesture to June. "It's been a long time waiting to meeting you, Mr. Matthews." her motions are smooth and slow, certainly no sudden motions out of her! No need to spook the prisoner.

"May we sit?" always be polite first!

June Connor has posed:
    June, isn't quite as polite. She just takes a seat while Elektra is asking. Just like any good rebellious daughter would. She studies the straitjacket, then the man who is bound by it. She looks at the walls and ceiling, taking in the construction and possible ways to compromise the room. She leans forward, giving a nonchalant two finger wave. "Hi," she greets him with the most opposite level of formality as possible before leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Two discreet but obvious cameras, probably with sound enabled if Elektra is any guess. More interesting and distinctly non-standard are the additional light sources, carefully placed to illuminate the entire room and eliminate every possible shadow.

    "Uh... Sure," Quentin replies, unsure of where this conversation is going. "... What brings you here?" he asks then, clearly trying to reclaim some of his boardroom manners, although the way his eyes keep jumping quite ruins the effect.

    June barely gets a glance when she speaks, then his attention goes back to Elektra, clearly having marked her out as the person in charge of the current situation. "Are you here to help me?"

Elektra Natchios has posed:
"Depends on the kind of help you need, Mr. Matthews." Elektra notes that lack of shadows in the room. Curious, then making way to pick a chair and settle down, looking at the man thoughtfully. "And who is after you ..." a pause, "For you have the face of someone who still has unfinished business, don't you?" a gesture.

"But most of all, I am here to /listen/ to you, and what you may have to say." she leaning forward just so.

Maybe it's her way of broaching more easily into having the man agreeing to a contract for the assets she wants! Or at least that's what she wants to be perceived on the cameras that are undoubtedly picking up the convo.

June Connor has posed:
    June studies Matthews, a certain scowl on her face. The kind that says it makes her uncomfortable. The walls, the straight jacket. She suddenly inserts herself. "You not crazy," she declares. "People thinkin' that, but they are full of shit. You' ain't." She goes quiet again. It's as if it was something she just had to get off her chest.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "... I don't know," Quentin replies, shrugging as best he can within his straitjacket. "He never told he his name. Never let me see his face. He was just there, constantly whispering in my ear, taunting me. Nobody else ever heard him..."

    His head shoots up at June's reassurance, miserable fear giving way to snarling anger. ".. Or so they said! I didn't realize it at first, didn't understand how he could know all those things, but then I figured it out! They told him! They were working for him! That's how he knew! That's why they all pretended the didn't hear him! They were all working against me, trying to make me think I was going crazy!"

    He sags back against the wall, his energy momentarily spent. "And he was always there," he whimpers. "In my office, in my home... Wouldn't let me get a decent night's sleep... Taunting me with my sins."

    He sneers. "Sins. Bullshit. We did what had to be done. For the good of the company. We'd all have been ruined if we hadn't done something, that idealistic idiot and his precious plans..."

    He rises to his feet and starts to pace as his rant picks up steam, his arms twitching in the straitjacket as if he's trying to gesture...

Elektra Natchios has posed:
A brief, subtle nod is given in approval to June when she speaks up, which then prompts the man to open up further. Which makes her smile. "Why do you say he was idealistic?" She then inquires, head canting to the side. Something is forming on her mind. That there's something here.. Mmmm, "And what plans did he have?" she looks up, watching the man walk back and forth.

A brief respite as she waits for June to put in her own questions to the man if she has them. Maybe this is both an interrogation but also a training for the girl!

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "Cranston!" Quentin replies, all but spitting the name. "His father was an old-fashioned son-of-a-bitch, but at least he had the sense to finally retire, and we could get some work done, but then his son was even worse! Talking about getting out of the arms shipment business entirely, 'ethical' this and 'responsible' that, 'taking the lead in setting higher standards' yadda yadda...

    He turns around abruptly to face Elektra again, looking mad enough to spit. "If it were up to him and his neo-hippie bullshit we'd lose half our clients for being insufficiently do-gooder, and the other half to cheaper competitors! But he was a Cranston so he could order what he liked, never mind that the entire company would go under... We tried to tell him but he wasn't listening..."

    He takes a breath, trying to calm down. "...We were the Board. We had a responsibility to our shareholders, our employees... We had to do something. We had to..." He sounds almost reasonable and persuasive, like he's arguing a case before the Board...

June Connor has posed:
    Sins. People don't use that word very often around her. Unless they are talking about sins they enjoy. Why does this feel so familiar? She listens as he tells the story. "So wait. I ain't in business all that, but if you are public, just vote him out and do all that bullshit. Why do all the cloak and dagger crap? And if you didn't, how the hell would he be whispering, you talking like a ghost or some shit?" She suddenly seems like she wants to retract the claim that he isn't crazy, but she doesn't voice it.

Elektra Natchios has posed:
Matthews rambling all but proved what Elektra already suspected. That they had been behind the killing. And paid for it. Yet of course that she helps the man finish the sentence right there in the end. ".... you had to relieve him of his duties." spoken so naturally. Almost as if sympathetic and she would had done just the same were she on the man's shoes. Nothing like sympathy to get a crazy man on your side, right?

"Was there a name behind those whispers?" She finally asks, ".. a name to this ghost?" she following up on June's own questions.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Quentin nods at Elektra, looking almost relieved at the sign that someone understands what he's trying to say. "Right! Except he wouldn't step down. And we couldn't make him -- Cranston's got a majority vote all on his own, some clever trick by the old man's old man who wanted to make sure his kids would always keep the business -- so we had to get him out of the way."

    "... We didn't know he was taking his wife along. Last minute decision, wanted to combine a holiday with the business trip." A shrug. These things happen, it is what it is.

    "Davis and Mackintyre felt sorry for the kid, can you believe it? That brat probably got more money on her allowance than they made in a year, and they felt sorry for her!" Another shrug. "Anyway, we didn't even have to worry about that -- that Allard bastard got custody somehow and sent her off to a boarding school in Switzerland. Hah - for all the good that it did him, he couldn't touch the money either..." Another sneer.

June Connor has posed:
    "Wow, Fuck this guy," June says, standing to her feet. His statements struck a nerve, clearly, and it wasn't sympathetic ones. "Was there a name?" she asks, reinforcing Elektra's question. "Tell us before I fuckin' kill you myself." A bit off script, but whatever it was about his statement, June has that look in her eye that says she may not be just spouting off.

Elektra Natchios has posed:
Amateurs. All of them. Killing a whole family. At least hire professionals to do the job! Some people ....

Yes, Elektra can be a bit ruthless at times but even she finds herself frowning as the man opens up about the other members of the board, and at that lack of ..., remorse. Was it the voices that had done it to him? She imagined not. Rotten to the core. But the ones that had repented hadn't been killed or been taken to an hospice. In prison instead. Maybe Justice wasn't blind after all.

Or whoever did this was claiming vengeance for what they had done. She gets up to her feet, looking at June and her off-script. It also signals they should be going. "Come on, -daughter-.." emphasis on the 'daughter', ".. lets not disturb the man any longer." does she know what triggered June? Oh she very well may have an inkling.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    ... And as she walks away, she inadvertently passes in front of one of the lights, causing her shadow to fall across the room - and across Quentin, who reacts by screaming at the top of his lungs and trying to squeeze himself into the corner of the cell as far from that shadow as possible. "He's here! He's after me! He's always here! He knows! the Shadow Knows!"

     The screaming continues well after the door closes behind 'mother' and 'daughter'; apparently Mr. Matthews isn't going to be well any time soon...

June Connor has posed:
    Nope. June hesitates, but her rage is interrupted by the phrase 'the shadow knows.' "Shit. When Elektra continues to leave, she turns briskly, fists clenched. Oh she just wants to murder that guy, but that's not what she's here for. "I know who that is," she hisses quiestly when she catches up to Elektra. "I fought him. The Shadow." Well, fought may be a liberal definition. More like she ran like hell.

Elektra Natchios has posed:
The Shadow. That makes Elektra's gaze narrow but she doesn't stop her way out of there. There's a nod given to June, then a quick glance up as if she was reminding her of the cameras. Yet there is curiosity there, they would have to discuss this later on.

So instead she asks, "Are you okay?" is she concerned? Who knows.

But Arkham does have a way of getting to everyone, doesn't it?