Year One: Duquesa Bay

"Points of Connection"

Inside the SCPD headquarters, Morrigan is being questioned by two detectives. An older man stands with his arms folded, saying nothing, while his younger female partner does the talking.

Detective 1: Alright, Ms. McBride, we need to go over your story one more time...

Morrigan: (Slumping in her chair) That's what you said the first two times...

Detective 1: We need to make sure that everything is in sync... and that your story doesn't change

Morrigan: (Bristling) I'm a professional journalist, detective, as well as the daughter of an LAPD commander - I always get my facts straight before I commit to them

Detective 1: (Rolling her eyes at her partner) Right

Morrigan: Hey, I am doing you both a favor by talking to you without a lawyer present because I know I didn't do anything wrong - so, if you're done with the haughty facial expressions, shall I start from the top?

Detective 1: I'm not sure I'm liking your tone, ma'am

Morrigan: And what tone would you prefer? - the "I'm so happy to be accused of murdering a priest" timbre or the "whatever you say, almighty officer" cadence?

The female detective starts to lean into Morrigan with a scowl but is held back by her partner.

Detective 2: Ms. McBride, temper your sarcasm and please tell us about your activities for the evening?

Morrigan: As I said before, after getting off of my shift at KCON... 6:30... I went to see that new sci-fi movie at the cineplex with five of my friends - you have their names and telephone numbers, they can vouch for me - after it was over at 8:50, we all went to dinner at the Mama Toni's Pizza Parlor across the street - I stayed there for approximately 45 minutes until Hector Tapia called and asked me to meet him at the church

Detective 2: Saint Brendan's?

Morrigan: Yes, Saint Brendan's

Detective 1: (Banging her pen against the desk) I was going to see that new sci-fi movie tonight... but I got called in here!

Morrigan: You didn't miss much

Detective 1: (Growling) That's for me to decide

Detective 2: Why did Mr. Tapia want you to meet him?

Detective 1: And if the reason is sexual in nature, you will have to provide exact details

The two detectives chuckle at each other as Morrigan looks aghast.

Detective 2: Shouldn't be too hard for a "writer"

They laugh again.

Morrigan: I am two seconds away from filing a report against you two

Detective 1: (Throwing her a pad of paper) Ooh, be our guest!

Detective 2: No one is really going to care about what you have to say, Ms. McBride - a priest was killed earlier this evening - that's not going to sit well with most people in this town

Detective 1: And you just handed your own head over to us on a silver platter... pardon the biblical pun

Morrigan: If you two would stop the comedy routine and do your jobs right, you would see that I'm only trying to help while the real killer is still out there

Detective 2: OK, OJ

Detective 1: (Taking a bite of an onion bagel) We'll see what we can do

Morrigan: I want to speak to your captain, right now - you two are embarrassments to your profession!

Detective 1: (Grabbing Morrigan by the collar and deliberately breathing on her) This ain't your daddy's department, little girl

Detective 2: Get used to our faces, Ms. McBride, because we are the only two you're going to be dealing with here - now, I suggest you make it easier on yourself and resume your story... why were you going to meet Hector Tapia?

Morrigan: (Glaring at both of them) He wanted me to meet his sister, Carmen Fiore - he thought she would be a helpful source for a future story I'm doing for KCON

Detective 1: What's the story about?

Morrigan: I'm not at liberty to say

Detective 2: And why is that?

Morrigan: It's going to be an expose and it's still in the nascent stages - discussing it now... with anyone... would jeopardize the entire process

Detective 1: Missy, you have a lot more at stake here than losing a story

Morrigan: I am well aware of that, detective... and my name is "Morrigan" - but I am also aware of my rights under the law - I do not need nor do I wish to discuss the subject of my story as it applies to this investigation

Detective 2: (Flipping his pen in the air and catching it) We'll find out about it, one way or the other

Morrigan: The only thing you need to know is that I went to Saint Brendan's with the intention of meeting Mr. Tapia for strictly business purposes

Detective 2: A man with a known criminal past

Morrigan: Emphasize the word "past," please

Detective 1: How about you emphasize your ass!

Detective 2: (Holding back his partner again) And you did see Mr. Tapia?

Morrigan: Yes... briefly - by the time I arrived at the church, the pizza from earlier was not setting right on my stomach so I asked if we could reschedule...

Detective 2: It was awfully late to be meeting him there in the first place, wasn't it, Ms. McBride?

Morrigan: Ordinarily, yes, but tonight was an inter-parish meeting - they usually last well past 10:00 pm

Detective 1: Did Mr. Tapia watch you leave?

Morrigan: Yes, he did - I drove off to go home

Detective 1: You took the back streets instead of the freeway, why?

Morrigan: I'm not a fan of driving freeways after dark, I prefer surface streets

Detective 2: (Looking at a map on the wall) You live on Willowbrook, correct?

Morrigan: That is correct

Detective 2: The church is a good 20-minute drive on surface streets when you could've been home in 12 using the freeway

Morrigan: True

Detective 1: For someone who was supposedly sick to her stomach, you weren't in a real hurry to get home?

Morrigan: Like I just said, I do not like to drive the freeways after dark - the extra eight minutes was not going to help or hurt my stomach

Detective 2: And during this time is when you had the accident with Erika von Meer?

Morrigan: Yes

Detective 1: Why didn't you report it?

Morrigan: It was both of our faults - there was only minor damage - we didn't see the need to involve our insurance companies

Detective 1: (Smug) Well, as the daughter of an LAPD commander, you should have known better!

Morrigan: (Gritting her teeth) Look, it's late, I'm tired, sick, and Dr. von Meer had to get to her lab tests...

Detective 2: You insisted on driving her, why?

Morrigan: Her glasses were damaged and she couldn't see well enough to drive in my opinion - so I offered her a ride and she accepted it

Detective 1: Heh, now was this sexual in nature?

Morrigan: (Angrily pointing) YOU ARE A DISGRACE

Detective 2: ANSWER THE QUESTION, MA'AM

Morrigan: NO - I was trying to be helpful...

Detective 1: Like you're trying to be now?

Morrigan: You know, on second thought, I think I do want a lawyer

Detective 2: We spoke to a few of your co-workers already...

Morrigan: "To" or "with?" - it makes a difference

Detective 2: (Ignoring her comment) A Ms. Takanachi said she talked to you by phone after the shooting

Morrigan: While I was driving Dr. von Meer to her destination, Gracie called me and told me about what happened

Detective 2: (Looking at his notes) According to Ms. Takanachi, she tried to call you several times before, but you did not answer - why?

Morrigan: I had my cell voicemail on, I was not feeling well enough to talk to anyone

Detective 1: Why did you pick up this time?

Morrigan: Erika suggested that I should

Detective 1: And why is that?

Morrigan: (Agitated) I DUNNO, the ringing pissed her off, you'll have to ask her!

Detective 2: So, now you two are heading back towards the church?

Morrigan: Yes, I was only a few minutes away, I wanted to see what was happening

Detective 2: Why? - you weren't working that assignment for the station

Morrigan: It's my church and I had just left shortly before - I was concerned for Hector... Mr. Tapia

Detective 1: And Ms. von Meer was fine with your little detour?

Morrigan: I asked her if it would be alright and she had no problem with it

Detective 2: So, you arrive back at Saint Brendan's - do you remember the precise time?

Morrigan: No, I was too busy trying to get through the pandemonium to look at my watch

Detective 2: Then what happened?

Morrigan: In the course of talking with people, I noticed you, detective, holding up a gun in a plastic bag to Frank Fiore... I instantly recognized it as mine

Detective 2: You were absolutely certain it was yours?

Morrigan: Yes, the distinctive grip was handmade by my father - I knew right away

Detective 1: (Aside) I've seen better grips

Morrigan: (Overhearing) LOOK, detectives - if I wanted to kill someone, why would I admit in front of everyone that that was my gun?

Detective 1: Twisted logic is par for the course in most of these cases

Morrigan: And why would I leave it behind?

Detective 2: Maybe you heard someone coming and dropped it by accident - a lot of reasons...

Detective 1: Maybe God told you to do it

Morrigan: Heh, I resent that remark, detective - I am a devout Catholic, I've been a member of this church for less than a year, what motive could I possibly have for wanting to kill Father Greg?

Detective 1: That's what we're going to find out, Ms. McBride, I can assure you

Morrigan: (Sighing) It's so obvious I am being framed here! - why can't you see that?

Detective 2: Have you ever used your gun?

Morrigan: I used it all the time in Montana - going to the firing range was often times the highlight of my weekend

Detective 2: What about here in town?

Morrigan: I haven't had the time to do so since I moved to Duquesa Bay

Detective 1: Things have been pretty hectic for you lately?

Morrigan: You could say that

Detective 2: So, you lost your gun when your first moved out here?

Morrigan: I didn't lose it... it was taken from me

Detective 1: By the Tooth Fairy?

Morrigan: By a California Highway Patrol officer

Detective 2: Same difference

The two detectives chuckle.

Morrigan: It was taken by an Officer Baten

Detective 2: There's no record of any officer by that name

Morrigan: Gracie Takanachi and the tow truck driver will back me up on this - the night I first arrived in town, my car broke down, I decided to stay where I was and go for help in the morning - I kept the gun by my side for protection - a few hours later, I woke up to find Gracie, the tow truck driver, and Officer Baten standing outside of my car - the officer took the gun from me since the car was being towed and I had to go directly to work that day

Detective 2: And you never went back to claim it?

Morrigan: Between the chaos of the move, my new job, and various other incidents, it slipped my mind - when it finally occurred to me to retrieve it, I called CHP HQ and was given the run around... I called from KCON, pull the phone records if you don't believe me

Detective 2: We know how to do our jobs, ma'am

Morrigan: That's debatable!

Detective 1: What is your relationship to Erika von Meer?

Morrigan: Excuse me? - I've told you three times now why she was in my car

Detective 1: Yes, but what is your personal relationship to her?

Morrigan: I don't understand what you're trying to get at?

Detective 1: Is it true that you're dating her brother, KJ von Meer?

Morrigan: (Rubbing her head) Yeah - I told you that he was one of the friends I was with earlier this evening

Detective 2: How long have you two been dating?

Morrigan: For a few months

Detective 1: Would you call it serious?

Morrigan: (Folding her arms) I'd call it dating

Detective 1: Would you call him your boyfriend?

Morrigan: I still don't see the relevance here?

Detective 1: Maybe your "car accident" happened last night... or last week

Morrigan: What are you trying to say?

Detective 1: (Leaning on the table again) That the sister of your boyfriend wouldn't hesitate in covering up for you!

Morrigan: (Standing up) OH, C'MON - I don't know Erika von Meer as well as her brother but I highly doubt she'd cover for me if she thought I was jaywalking, let alone plotting the murder of a priest!

Detective 2: Were there any witnesses to your accident tonight?

Morrigan: None that I'm aware of but it did take place in a residential area - someone might have seen us out there when it happened

The door to the interrogation room opens and Joenne Mirabello enters with a pot of coffee.

Joenne: Fresh Kona Blend, detectives!

Both look at her with deep appreciation as she bends over to fill their mugs. Morrigan quickly stifles her surprise.

Joenne: (All smiles) I just finished typing up your reports and the FedEx package you were expecting arrived a few minutes ago

Detective 2: (Leering at her body) Thanks, Joenne, we're about through in here

Joenne: (Turning to face Morrigan) Oh, and Ms. McBride - you were asking me earlier about the restroom - it's down the hall and to your left when you're ready

Morrigan: Uh... thanks

Joenne smiles once again and does a dance step out the door. Detective 2 watches with a goofy grin as Detective 1 bats him on the arm.

Detective 2: Ahem... right now, we don't have enough to charge you, Ms. McBride, but I wouldn't be making any out-of-town plans

Detective 1: And get in touch with that attorney because you're going to be seeing a lot more of us!

Morrigan: (Heading for the door) I'll be sure to do that

Following Joenne's instructions, Morrigan enters the bathroom. She pretends to fix herself in the mirror as an elderly lady finishes washing her hands. Joenne enters the room and looks under the stall doors for feet. Confident that they're alone, the two women begin to talk.

Joenne: Did you mention me?

Morrigan: What do you think?

Joenne: Keep your mouth shut about what went down between us earlier and my supervisors will try to help you out the best they can

Morrigan: And if I don't?

Joenne: Pray that they have cable in the prison they send you to

Morrigan: The way this case is shaping up, Joenne, I might need you to testify on my behalf

Joenne: Sorry, Morrigan, you're on your own - the agency won't jeopardize my cover for this

Morrigan: You seemed more than eager to help me out earlier

Joenne: The Clergy is behind setting you up - you do realize this?

Morrigan: How do I know that, because YOU say so? - you told me not to go into the church because my life was at risk, the next thing I know, a priest is killed and I'm the number one suspect - WHO KNOWS, maybe your CIA goons are setting me up, I can't trust anyone!

Joenne: (Serious look) Be prepared, the detectives will find matching powder burns on your hand

Morrigan: (Leaning against the tile) Oh, I'm sure they will, they'll probably conjure up some kind of problem between me and Father Greg as well

Joenne: You have a lot of powerful enemies in this town lining up to play puppet master with you, Morrigan

Morrigan: And where do your strings lead to, Ms. Mirabello?

Joenne: Not to The Clergy... if you weren't valuable to these hooded freaks, you would have been dead the second you crossed city limits

Morrigan: Why am I so valuable to them?

Joenne: It's a puzzle I've been trying to solve for a long time - just know that they need you out of the way... but they also need you alive

Morrigan: (Running her hands under the cold water) That's reassuring

Another woman enters the restroom.

Joenne: If you have any other questions I can assist you with, please don't hesitate to call the office - have a good evening and I'll be in touch!

Morrigan: (Watching her leave) Thank you so much!

As the woman enters a stall, Morrigan returns to the sink and splashes several handfuls of cold water on her face. She stares at herself in the mirror for a moment and then leaves. A few minutes later, the other woman exits the restroom. Now with the room completely empty, two feet jump down off of a toilet seat and Erika von Meer silently emerges from a stall.

Erika: This is not going well

Now standing outside on the building steps, Morrigan talks to Gracie on her cell phone.

Morrigan: I appreciate your help, Gracie - we really have to find that tow truck driver and the mysterious Officer Baten because the police will say you're not a credible witness being my friend and co-worker... no, my car has been impounded, KJ is inside trying to argue on my behalf but it won't do any good - someone is hell bent on seeing me take the fall for this - no, I do NOT want to involve my dad yet... that's OK, KJ will give me a ride home - I know, I'm guessing I'll be suspended from KCON next - we'll meet up tomorrow, tell Zach I'll need him to call in his contacts - right now, I've got to get home and get some rest before I fall over... thanks, goodnight

As she clicks off her phone, she stares out at the distant view of the ocean.

Morrigan: (Sighing) I doubt your magic wand can rescue me from this mess

Suddenly feeling a hand on her shoulder, Morrigan whirls around to find Dr. von Meer.

Erika: Is everything alright, Ms. McBride?

Morrigan: Oh, it's you, Dr. von Meer - you startled me

Erika: I apologize... and please call me Erika, we've known each other long enough now

Morrigan: I suppose we have - how's your eye?

Erika: It's fine... did I hear you mention a "magic wand?"

Morrigan: Um, just talking out loud

Erika: To an invisible wizard?

Morrigan: (Half smile) That's one way of describing her

Erika: Morrigan... I want you to know...

Morrigan: What?

Erika: I'm going to do everything I can to clear your name

Morrigan: Just tell the truth and everything will be alright

Erika: It doesn't always work out that way

Morrigan: No, but I have to have faith that it will

The two are silent for a moment.

Morrigan: Did the dicks take your statement?

Erika: Pardon me?

Morrigan: The detectives

Erika: Yes, I echoed everything you said - and I'll say anything else you want me to say

Morrigan: No, that will NOT be necessary

Erika: It might be... and it might be necessary for you to leave town for awhile - my family has a cabin in...

Morrigan: NO... THANK YOU - I do not run from a fight, especially one that is unjust

Erika: You need to learn to pick your battles

Morrigan: And you need to get to a hospital for that eye, the cut is still bleeding

Erika: (Backing away) I'll take care of it when I get home

Morrigan: KJ will be here in a minute to drive us

As the two wait, Erika notices Morrigan's extremely flushed cheeks.

Erika: It's now my turn to ask... do you need to see a doctor?

Morrigan: No...

Her gaze returns out to sea.

Morrigan: Nothing a few empty robes and a cold soak won't cure

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