We begin our night in media res — The team of Guardians (and some other people) are standing over the dead body of a man wearing a wig and lovely Victorian garb in what used to be the Bed, Bath, and Beyond on the second floor of the mall.
Earlier in the day…
The Halloween party in Refuge Point has become something of a tradition. Although food is never an abundant commodity, this is the last real hurrah of the warm part of the year and the community has begun to treat it as a sort of tradition. The mood is generally very good at this time (just after most of the harvest is in), and people are looking forward to the costumes and such. Although the holiday was Natalie’s favorite before D-Day, she has never made an actual appearance at the party itself. This year, Jared manages to coax her into going to it, though she still opts not to dress up.
Everyone pretty much has the desire to be around, even Toby and the kids come from Harris Stowe. Toby goes looking for Ang, determined that she is the person who will have the best advice for him on how to prepare to do something that may well be an impossible task. Her ultimate recommendation is not exactly helpful (she’s a little bit drunk already by the time he locates her, IIRC).
Langston also has a desire to speak with Toby. He learns from the boy that Toby already knew something odd was going on with Maddy’s powers, but he cannot get a handle on it. His powers are life-based and Maddy’s are different. He gets annoyed and leaves Langston eventually, and when he finds Melody he tells her about a dead body up on the second floor. And here we caught up with our in media res moment.
The dead man is Adam Zimmerman. He was a proponent of the government coming in and being in charge of things but was outvoted. Facts of the case appear to be as follows: BB&B is a storage area that isn’t heavily used, so it makes a good place for a semi-private chat if you’re looking for one. The body is laying in a pool of blood, and it appears that Adam probably hit his head on the sharp edge of a shelf. There is a definite possibility that he could have tripped on his long skirt, but there is also a real possibility that he was perhaps pushed and fell. In her zeal to begin looking for clues, Melody literally trips over something and winds up disarranging the body somewhat. Natalie goes to fetch Liv (our only real detective) and Dr. No is brought in to verify the apparent cause of death. Olivia is six sheets to the wind and useless for our purposes.
Langston proposes that Santae and Ida should both be brought in at this point — because he’s still the mayor and she’s likely to become the mayor next. Ida is going to accompany members of the team on the investigation as an impartial observer so that no one can later say the Guardians were engaged in a cover-up. She also offers the information that Adam and Gordon have recently clashed, and Adam was seen arguing with Mary Fran tonight before the party kicked off. Everyone returns to the main concourse where Langston stares at Mary Fran until he catches her attention. She leaves the dance floor to come over and see what he wants. Natalie’s read on her is nebulous and not much use, and Mary Fran does inform the group that yes, she and Adam argued. It was a private matter. He stalked off still angry, and she didn’t see him after that — he was not in costume yet when it happened, and he was heading back to his room to get changed. So Natalie slips off to see if she can find out who might have seen Adam next – had anyone actually spotted him in costume tonight? But her queries are inept and his friends decide that she’s trying to make fun of Adam and clam up.
Langston suggests that Ida take Mary Fran aside — she doesn’t want to share with the group what the argument was about, but she can talk to Ida about it and if Ida feels it isn’t relevant, it can remain a private thing. Mary Fran agrees to this, and when Ida comes back, she says she does not believe that Mary Fran and Adam’s argument was relevant but that if Adam thought the consequences of this information they were arguing about — which came from Rhiannon, it turns out — were going to be significant, it is possible that it would have caused a violent disagreement even though he was not known to be violent.
Melody and Ang, meanwhile, are still looking in the BB&B. Melody locates the greasepaint stores near where Adam fell and notes that there is a container of it out of place. She also spots a small, trapezoidal piece of paper that appears to potentially have been part of a costume. Not very many people are wearing that greasepaint color, and she goes back to her face-painting stand to see if she can sort out how many people may be in the pool of potential suspects. It turns out that Mary Fran is the only one wearing that color of greasepaint at all, and Ang then wants to check out Mary Fran’s room. She doesn’t wait for Ida — the room is locked, but Ang does find some greasepaint on the handle, as if someone had it on their hands when they shut the door.
The group decides that searching Adam’s room may yield clues to the situation and so they head there. Maddy finds some hastily scribbled notes about confronting someone before she goes public. Another section of the desk has numerous displayed sketches of Rosalie and poems to her. He appears to have had a serious crush. And then Ang locates a massive stash in the closet of supplies that have never been reported — way more than the usual minuscule things that people will pilfer from an expedition: food, liquor, etc. Dr. No mentions at this point that some things have been going missing out of the medical stores, too — but Adam didn’t work in medical. She had suspected Rosalie. When her name crops up, it occurs to Melody that the trapezoidal piece of paper she found could have come from the paper doll costume Rosalie was wearing.
Hayley, the community’s “sheriff” brings Rosalie to talk to the group. Natalie coaxes her to speak up. She claims he was obsessed with her and wanted to talk, and when he got too hands-on, she pushed him and he fell. She didn’t mean to hurt him, she claims with tears. Langston, however, does not believe her and throws a huge bluff — “For the accident there would obviously be no punishment. But for stealing from the quartermaster and trying to frame Mary Fran for the ‘accident’ — well, those are big-girl crimes.” Ida speaks to Rosalie about the thefts, and she confesses to having taken the medical supplies to give to someone in the Dome — a man.
At this point, a full conversation ensues about the implications. Theft of supplies endangers the entire community in huge ways. But the bigger point is that framing Mary Fran speaks to a premeditated intention to cause someone ELSE to get in trouble for murder. If it had truly been an accident, any normal person would have panicked and hollered for help to see if he could have been saved. But Rosalie didn’t. This was a deliberate, malicious attempt to deflect blame, and the entire community could have literally been torn down around everyone’s ears. The punishment options are pretty limited: Do nothing. Exile with the potential for return later (only if some amazing argument and some reparations could be made). Permanent Exile. Or execution.
Despite the fact that exiling Rhiannon definitely bit us in the ass before, it is decided that Rosalie should be exiled with the very slim possibility of a later return. And as she is escorted out of Refuge Point’s main dorms and pointed on her way the next morning, the first snowflakes begin to fall.