In the Rick of Time
Just as Catherine opens the door to her cafe, a troubled Rick comes in complaining about a group masquerading as Nightsmoke. The crew agrees to help him with any heavy lifting, and Catherine agrees to escort him to a boutique where the thieves may be.
The crew once accompanied a detective named Rick who was pursuing Nightsmoke, an infamous master thief.
Detective Rick: When he's involved, the evidence, stolen goods, and the thief himself all vanish into the night like smoke. Hence the name.
Midway through their investigation, the crew was ambushed by Nightsmoke.
But they mounted a counterattack, buying them enough time to escape.
???: Eek! Ah!
Mid-dash, (Captain) found a pendant with the name "Catherine" carved lightly into its surface.
It was the only physical evidence the infamous Nightsmoke had ever left behind.
A few days afterward, Rick visited a certain cafe, where he confided in a waitress about his botched job.
Rick introduced her to the crew as Cathy, although, unbeknownst to him, her real name is Catherine.
Cathy: Oh... um... Welcome. Please come in.
It was in that moment that (Captain) had an epiphany—this unassuming waitress was the master thief Nightsmoke.
Her true identity discovered, Catherine threatened (Captain)'s life and forced her way into the crew.
Catherine: I don't want word getting out about me. Which means I have to keep an eye on you.
After becoming a fixture aboard the Grandcypher, the crew quickly learned Nightsmoke's true nature.
However, Rick continued to search for the master thief, never realizing she had been under his nose all along.
One day a tired Rick enters the Kitten Cafe, Catherine's establishment.
Detective Rick: Ah, just my luck... Why does stuff like this always happen to me...
Lyria: Why, hello!
Vyrn: Look what the cat dragged in. It's Detective Bungler.
Detective Rick: B-Bungler? Y-you could just call me Rick, you know...
Detective Rick: And why are you here anyways?
Cathy: Hehe. Come now. They're just here to help me.
Detective Rick: Since when? Oh, but then again, it must be tough running this place all by yourself.
Rick decides there isn't anything suspicious about the crew's presence and takes a seat. Then he takes a deep breath and sighs.
Detective Rick: Being alone is so hard... So hard...
Cathy: What's wrong, Rick? You seem really down today.
Detective Rick: Oh, Cathy... You don't know the half of it. Woe is me...
Cathy: What happened? Let me be your shoulder to cry on.
Detective Rick: I'll... tell you everything... I'm at a standstill with the SBI, and it's making me an outsider.
Detective Rick: They'll probably demote me to some small office over in North Vast.
Vyrn: What! What'd you do now?
Detective Rick: It wasn't my fault... To start from the beginning, I've been hunting a group of thieves known as Nightsmoke.
Cathy: A group? I thought Nightsmoke was the crook you've been chasing for quite some time.
Cathy: Are you saying that Nightsmoke isn't one person, but a band of thieves?
Detective Rick: That's not what I'm saying. From where I stand, Nightsmoke is an individual.
Detective Rick: I think this group is using his name. In other words, they're fakes.
Vyrn: Really? You sound pretty convinced of your theory.
Detective Rick: It's obvious when you look at their work. The traces they leave behind are completely different from the real Nightsmoke.
Cathy: Is that so?
Detective Rick: I've been after Nightsmoke for so long now that I know his methods in and out. Means I can spot a cheap imitation from a mile away too.
Detective Rick: But my superiors think this group must be the real deal—just because they use white smoke and other trickery similar to Nightsmoke.
Detective Rick: I've told them over and over again, "C'mon, you guys, Nightsmoke's still out there. Lemme after him!"
Detective Rick: Headquarters didn't take kindly to that. They said if I can't prove these other guys are phonies, then I'm wasting the SBI's time. And that means demotion.
Detective Rick: Sigh... I don't have much time left to make my case either. Just my luck...
Cathy: Rick, don't let it get you down. Isn't there something you can do to prove that they're not affiliated with the real Nightsmoke?
Detective Rick: Of course, if I could just catch that group, then I'm sure I'd be able to make my point.
Detective Rick: I even know where their next target is and everything...
Detective Rick: But... I...
Cathy: But what? What's getting in your way?
Detective Rick: I'm not good with the rough stuff. How do I apprehend them by myself, without any backup from the SBI?
Vyrn: Dude... Get a grip. It's your job to bag the bad guys, isn't it?
Detective Rick: Easier said than done... Remember that I needed your help last time to do anything meaningful...
Detective Rick: Wait! That's it! I need your help! (Captain), what do you say?
Choose: Sure thing.
- Sure thing.
- I dunno...
Vyrn: Yeah! We can't just let the baddies run around town.
Lyria: Agreed! If we put our heads together, we can catch any villain!
Cathy: Hehe. What a dependable bunch. It seems it's your lucky day, Rick.
Detective Rick: Thank you! You have no idea what this means to me!Choose: I dunno...
Detective Rick: Hey, come on now... Don't say that... I'm gonna be sent to North Vast...
Detective Rick: If that happens, I won't be able to come to Cathy's Kitten Cafe! I need this place!
Detective Rick: Please, (Captain). I'm begging you...
Vyrn: Stop groveling already. (Captain)'s just kidding, you know?
Detective Rick: What? Really?
Cathy: (Captain). Don't tease Rick. No matter how cute he is.
Detective Rick: Oh man, can't believe I fell for it... Ahaha...
Detective Rick: So you'll help me after all?
Detective Rick: Thank you! You have no idea what this means to me!Continue 1
Detective Rick: All right. Let's get to catching these guys! Come on!
Rick rushes toward the door but soon comes to an abrupt halt and drops to his knees.
Lyria: Oh no! What's the matter, Rick?
Detective Rick: There's still one problem... I just remembered...
Cathy: Hm... It must be something big. Why don't you tell us about it?
Detective Rick: It's about their next target location. I want to do some scouting...
Detective Rick: But there lies the problem: it's a high-end boutique...
Vyrn: And? What's wrong with that?
Detective Rick: Everything! Don't you get it?
Rick's face turns red with embarrassment as the crew grows more puzzled.
Cathy: Rick, have you never been inside a boutique before?
Detective Rick: Manly man like me? I wouldn't be caught dead going into one alone!
Vyrn: Uh... What?
Detective Rick: You know what I mean... It's full of women's... undergarments...
Cathy: I get it. You're dejected because this place seems like a pretty big obstacle to completing your investigation.
Cathy: Hehehe... You're just the same as always. Hehe. So cute...
Detective Rick: What?
Cathy: You know, it's not so uncommon for a man to go into a high-end boutique alone.
Detective Rick: A-are you serious? Is that really okay?
Detective Rick: Then maybe I'll be fine.
But on the other hand, argh, it just seems so embarrassing...
Cathy: Hehehe... I guess you really do need my help. Why don't I go with you?
Detective Rick: What! Are you sure, Cathy?
Cathy: Why not? It would be nice to go window shopping. Or would you rather not have me along?
Detective Rick: Are you kidding! There's no one I'd rather go with!
Detective Rick: Oh, Cathy!
His face flush with ecstasy, Rick rises from the floor and throws his hands into the air in celebration.
Vyrn: What's wrong with this guy...
Detective Rick: Hey! There's nothing wrong with me!
Lyria: Hehe... But your face is beet red, Rick.
Detective Rick: I... I'm just happy I can get this stakeout started!
Cathy: Hehehe... Still, you don't have to get so flustered. It makes it too easy to push your buttons.
Detective Rick: C-Cathy, you're teasing me too? Haha. All out of allies...
Detective Rick: Ah, look at the time! I've gotta go.
Detective Rick: Cathy, I'll be back to pick you up for reconnaissance at the boutique, okay?
Detective Rick: (Captain), Lyria, Vyrn, thanks for everything! See you all later!
Rick bounds out the door of the Kitten Cafe, a smile on his face and a lightness in his step.
Lyria: Ahaha... Was Rick just skipping? He must be really excited!
Catherine: Hehe... He's such a child sometimes. At least he's in better spirits.
Catherine: But... are you sure it was okay to accept such a difficult task?
Vyrn: We don't mind. All for one and all that!
Vyrn: But how about you? You sure you wanna go through with this?
Catherine: I can't just leave these impersonators to their own accord. They might cause me problems down the line.
Catherine: What if their sloppy work was mistaken for mine? It would downgrade the type of clientele asking for my services.
Catherine: Plus... I feel a little bad for Rick.
Vyrn: When all's said and done, you're just looking out for Detective Bungler.
Catherine: It's not my fault that he's cute and funny. Would you leave someone so helpless all alone? Hehe.
Catherine: Not sure if he's just caught my eye, or if I enjoy listening to his complaints, but I love teasing the poor thing.
Vyrn: That sounds... like you're just having fun at his expense?
Catherine: Hehe. That's one way of looking at it.
Catherine giggles roguishly, causing (Captain) and the others to sympathize with Rick.
But in any event, the crew have decided to help the detective and aid him in the capture of the Nightsmoke impersonators.
A Thief's Honor
On reconnaissance, Catherine and Rick enter the boutique together. Catherine makes jokes about how self-conscious Rick is being while he gathers intel right underneath her nose. Catherine is truly shocked when she learns of Rick's great detective work.
The following day, just as Rick promised, he meets Cathy at the Kitten Cafe, and together they make for the boutique.
Detective Rick: Sigh... I don't feel so good. Standing in front of the store, it makes me feel queasy.
Cathy: Really? I'm right here, so what do you have to worry about?
Detective Rick: Give me a break, Cathy! Just look at the clientele—all those high class dames!
Detective Rick: And I look like crap in this coat. They're gonna whisper about me behind my back...
Cathy: You don't have to be so negative. Let's go inside already.
Detective Rick: You're right. I guess dillydallying outside would make me look fishy. I've just got to muster some courage.
Rick takes a deep breath, turns his collar up, and awkwardly sticks his chest out as he enters the boutique.
Detective Rick: And that's why we've come to your store, you see. My girl is searching for a dazzler of a dress.
Cathy: This store's reputation precedes itself. I've heard so much about it.
Clerk 1: I'm so glad to hear that. We also offer garments made to order. Just let me know what you'd like.
Cathy: In that case... Would you find me something that goes well with my figure?
Detective Rick: What!
Unbothered by Rick's overreaction, the clerk happily agrees to find an outfit for Catherine.
Clerk 1: Hehehe... I'll be right back with something just for you.
Detective Rick: Cathy... What are you doing? Are you really shopping?
Cathy: Well, I am searching for "a dazzler of a dress," aren't I?
Detective Rick: No, that's not... Argh, I guess I did say that...
Cathy: And remember we're here as a couple.
Detective Rick: What! A c-c-couple? Me and you?
Cathy: Uh-oh... You're not happy with me, Rick?
Detective Rick: I am! I totally am! You're one of the greatest people I've ever met, Cathy!
Cathy: Hehehe... Thank you. Just remember this is all pretend though, okay?
Detective Rick: Huh, pretend? Oh yeah, of course. Heh.
Detective Rick: In real life I could never land someone like you.
Cathy: Oh, look! The clerk is back!
The store staff returns with several outfits for Catherine to try on.
Cathy: Thank you. Do you mind giving the two of us some privacy to discuss these options?
Clerk 1: Oh, of course. I'll be right over there if you need me. You two make the perfect couple by the way.
Detective Rick: P-perfect couple!
Detective Rick: I mean... Cough... Yes, thank you. Hahaha...
The clerk promptly leaves the two and heads to a different part of the store.
Cathy: I do like being called a perfect couple.
Detective Rick: Haha... Ahaha... I almost blew our cover back there.
Cathy: Hehe. But you're doing great. It's surprising, to be honest.
Detective Rick: Well, you know us super sleuths: we always have our poker faces ready.
Cathy: Hehe. Really now? I was just thinking it's a good thing we don't have to play cards today.
Detective Rick: Oh crap, am I really that readable? I guess I can't hide my worry... Groan...
Detective Rick: Cathy, you think I'm doing okay? You don't think the ladies here have started whispering about me, do you?
Cathy: You're fine. Be more confident. You're most attractive when you stay sharp.
Detective Rick: Y-you think so?
Detective Rick: All right. I just need to put my collar up, strut my stuff, and there! I'm ready to inspect every part of this place!
Cathy: Hehe. What a simpleton.
Detective Rick: Hey! I can hear you! You could at least wait until I walk away...
After Rick relaxes a little more, Cathy begins examining the clothing the store clerk has selected for her.
Cathy: So. The store clerk. She's on your radar, right?
Detective Rick: Whoa, Cathy. How in the world did you figure that out?
Cathy: I see all kinds of customers every day. In my line of work, you eventually learn how to read people.
Detective Rick: Well, you're absolutely right. I've heard word that she's been buying tons of materials to make smoke bombs—the same kind that impostor gang is using.
Detective Rick: I don't know if she's a criminal herself or just an accomplice, but either way she's definitely in on it. I want to get her alone and force a confession...
Detective Rick: It wouldn't be enough to arrest her on the purchases alone. She'd be able to wiggle out of charges for sure. Wonder if there's a way to catch her red-handed...
Cathy: A super sleuth like you will think of something.
Detective Rick: Of course I will. I'll show you how it's done.
The two head toward the middle of the shop, whispering as they go.
Eventually they arrive in the section of the store where noticeably more extravagant garments are on display.
Detective Rick: From what I've deduced, their next target is this.
Rick points to a glamorous dress hung inside a glass display case.
Cathy: Oh my! Is this the wedding dress worn by the princess of the Mercia dynasty?
Detective Rick: Huh? Oh yeah, it is. They say that it's dripping in valuable jewels sourced from the Gem Domain.
Detective Rick: Cathy, you really know your stuff. And here I was hoping I could impress you with trivia about this stuff.
Cathy: Heh, well, um... I think I've seen this dress in a painting or something.
Detective Rick: Wow, Cathy. You're a great listener, but you're also extremely knowledgeable about the sky's treasures.
Cathy: I don't know any more than your average cafe waitress. Now, when do you suppose that gang will start their operation?
Detective Rick: Well, at the very earliest, they might come tonight. And here's how I know.
Rick reaches into his pocket and pulls out a white tube.
Cathy: What's this?
Detective Rick: A smoke bomb. It's triggered by magic. I saw a number of them planted around the store and got my hands on one.
Cathy: (When did he pick that up! I didn't notice anything!)
Detective Rick: You look like you're wondering when I picked this up, Cathy. Didn't I tell you? I'm a super sleuth.
Cathy: You really are, Rick. The most super of them all.
A Thief's Honor: Scene 2
Rick shares the information garnered from his trip to the boutique, and the crew agrees to go back with him as support. Rick enters the shop alone and attempts to apprehend an accomplice but finds himself in the mouth of the lion. Surrounded by thieves, only one person can save him—Nightsmoke.
After finishing their reconnaissance mission, Rick and Cathy return to the Kitten Cafe and discuss what they've learned with (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn.
Detective Rick: So this means I'll need your help sooner than expected.
Lyria: Sure! We'll do whatever we can!
Cathy: Hehe. That's a relief. We should be able to clean up this mess sooner than expected.
Detective Rick: Heh heh... This sleuth always gets the job done, after all.
Detective Rick: But then again, maybe it's just because that group of thieves was too sloppy.
Detective Rick: The powder found at the last crime scene... The material used in the smoke bombs from the boutique... It's almost too convenient that they match.
Rick rolls the tube of the smoke bomb in his fingers, studying its exterior. But suddenly his face tightens into a grimace.
Detective Rick: It's just like I thought. Nightsmoke would never leave such careless evidence behind.
Vyrn: This job was done by copycats. What'd you expect?
Detective Rick: But that's why it makes me so mad. Who in their right mind would look at this group's bumbling methods and mistake them for Nightsmoke?
Detective Rick: Not sure if they're sly or just downright shameless, but going up against such a lowly bunch makes me sick.
Cathy: You can say that, but Nightsmoke is doing the same thing as his impostors. They're all nothing but petty crooks.
Detective Rick: I don't know if I agree with you there.
Cathy: Why's that?
Detective Rick: I guess I just feel like he takes pride in his thievery.
Detective Rick: He's not fueled by rupies. He chooses his jobs based on some kind of thief's sense of justice.
Cathy: You think so? You're really inside Nightsmoke's head, aren't you?
Detective Rick: Call it detective's intuition. When you've been on the job as long as I have, you start developing a nose for that sort of thing.
Rick's expression softens after talking about Nightsmoke, but his grimace returns moments later.
Detective Rick: All right! It's time for us to go! These fakes are mine.
Choose: You betcha!
- You betcha!
Vyrn: Yeah! Time to catch the bad guys!
Rick exits the Kitten Cafe with (Captain) and the others, leaving Cathy to her own devices.
Catherine: All alone...
Catherine: Hehe. I can't let everyone else have all the fun—that's just not in my nature.
Rick has led the crew to the boutique.
Detective Rick: Doesn't look like the fireworks have started yet. Let's nab that clerk before things get heated.
Vyrn: Whoa there... You're going in alone? You sure about that?
Detective Rick: It's just one thief. I think I can handle her. Besides, if we all go in together, it might tip them off. And then who knows what will happen.
With that, Rick heads into the boutique by himself.
Spotting the clerk, he clears his throat to grab her attention.
Detective Rick: Excuse me, miss?
Clerk 1: Yes. What can I help you with?
A few steps forward, and the pair are a whisper's distance apart. Rick discretely pulls the smoke bomb from his pocket and flashes it at her.
Detective Rick: You know what a plea bargain is, right? You tell me all you know about this, and I'll make sure your sentence is lighter than your accomplices'.
Clerk 1: Tch... You noticed my setup, huh? Well, don't think you've had the last laugh!
Detective Rick: Haha. You already blew your cover over a tiny little question—didn't see that coming.
Thief 1: Shut up! Who are you supposed to be anyway?
Detective Rick: I'm a detective working for the SBI, but don't let this pretty face fool you. I'm as super as sleuths come.
Thief 1: Seriously? That's a really lame line, pal...
Detective Rick: Eh, probably lamer to be caught red-handed and sent to prison. But first things first, let's get these cuffs on you.
Thief 1: Oh? You think you can take me?
Detective Rick: I don't care much for the rough stuff, but I figure I can handle one of you. Now if you'll come with me...
Thief 1: Hehehe... Hey, everybody! It's playtime!
Thief 2: You got it!
Responding to the thief's command, just over half of the clerks remove their disguises.
Detective Rick: Crap! Who knew there were this many!
Clerk 2: Aaagh! What's going on!
Customer 1: Ahh! Help me!
After the crooks show their true colors, the store quickly descends into chaos. Customers frantically attempt to escape through the exit.
Thief 1: Shut your holes, and listen up! No one gets out!
She fires a warning shot into the air before pointing her gun at one of the patrons.
Detective Rick: You're not serious... Are you really going to hurt someone?
Thief 1: Hehehe... That all depends on you. It doesn't seem like anyone outside has noticed yet, so keep real quiet.
Detective Rick: Why don't you just give this up? It's not going to end well for you. Everyone here has seen your faces, after all.
Thief 1: Oooh, good point. So now all of you will need to disappear!
The thief turns the gun to Rick.
Detective Rick: Aagh! What did I do to deserve this!
Seemingly from out of nowhere, a loud bang echoes across the room and white smoke fills the air. In mere moments visibility is reduced to nothing.
Thief 1: What the hell! It's not time for the smoke... Which one of you did this!
Thief 2: Wasn't me! I swear! Damn it! Who was in charge of the getaway?
Detective Rick: (This smoke's not the work of the gang? If they didn't set the bombs off, then who did?)
Detective Rick: But never mind that... I can't see anything right now...
Thief 3: Tch! Where'd he go! Make sure that damned detective dies!
Detective Rick: Then again, this cover saved my behind. Now I need to get back to those skyfarers...
Thief 2: Agh!
Detective Rick: Huh? What's going on?
Thief 1: What is it?
Thief 3: Damn it... I don't know! I think someone is picking us—Gah!
Detective Rick: It just doesn't get any easier to see in this smoke, does it?
While Rick's eyes offer no clue as to what is happening around him, he feels something moving at lightning speed.
Determined to find the source of the movement, the detective crawls through the thick white smoke. He feels a small object press against his back.
Thief 1: You! I'll make sure you take our secret to the grave! Die, you stupid cop!
Detective Rick: Gulp! I'm done—
Thief 1: Aaah!
Rick hears the thief fall to the floor, but soon after he feels another presence lingering behind him.
Even as the tension in the room fades, he remains motionless, waiting for the presence to make itself known.
Detective Rick: (What's going on? Who's behind me?)
He focuses his senses, realizing that something about this situation is all too familiar.
Detective Rick: Wait... Is that you, Nightsmoke?
Detective Rick: So you're not going to answer me? Then I'll expose you myself!
Rick spins around, intent on getting a glimpse of his long-term rival.
Detective Rick: Gasp!
But the shadowy figure is too fast, sprinting off before Rick can make out any of its details.
Detective Rick: Mmph!
Moments later the super sleuth feels a handkerchief pressed against his mouth and nose.
One inhale and a powerful drowsiness overtakes him, causing him to crumple to the floor fast asleep.
Catherine: Hehe... Sorry.
Catherine: You'll be okay though. I mixed in some soothing herbs with the sleeping drugs. Should make your dreams sweeter.
Catherine: I guess you can't hear me right now anyway.
Catherine: Now then... Time to deal with the vermin.
Catherine peers across the smoke-filled store, searching for her next target, when she hears one of the customers near the entrance.
Customer 2: Oh, finally! The door's open!
The smoke begins to clear, and the customers make for the exit.
(Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn, on the other hand, push through the stampede of distressed shoppers to check the situation inside the shop.
Vyrn: Hey! You okay? What the heck happened?
Catherine: Little late, aren't we?
Vyrn: Wait, what? Why are you here?
Catherine: Come now, I'm here to take care of this little... "Nightsmoke" issue. Sometimes you have to take care of the job yourself, you know?
Catherine: But other times it's good to rely on a few helping hands when they present themselves. Want to help me take care of the rest of the thieves?
Vyrn: Yeah! They're in for a butt whoopin'!
Catherine: Hehe. Thank you. It's time these rats learned their lesson—
Catherine: Mess with the cat, and get the claws.
A Thief's Honor: Scene 3
The crew and Catherine put an end to the group pretending to be Nightsmoke and all is well. Except for the fact that Rick begins to put together the pieces of who Catherine really is.
Rick is lost in a pleasant slumber when suddenly he senses a distant disturbance. He rockets upright.
Detective Rick: Aah!
Detective Rick: Hm? Where am I?
Vyrn: Hey there, tough stuff!
Detective Rick: Huh? Tough what?
Lyria: He means you, Rick! You were amazing! You caught the bad guys all by yourself.
Detective Rick: Wait... What?
He inspects the space to find the floor littered with the thieves.
Detective Rick: Did I... do all this?
Vyrn: Heh heh! Who else coulda?
Lyria: This was definitely the work of the one and only super sleuth.
Detective Rick: R-really? Ahaha... This was all me...
Detective Rick: But wait... I saw someone else in the cloud of smoke...
Vyrn: Dude, did you hit your head on something? Or maybe you had a bad dream?
Detective Rick: I could have... But I'm definitely awake now. I guess I really am an amazing detective.
Vyrn: Phew... Glad this dope falls for everything.
Detective Rick: Hm? What was that?
Vyrn: Huh? I didn't say anything! More importantly, shouldn't you be taking all the riffraff into custody?
Detective Rick: Good point! Everyone, come get some of this rope to tie them all up!
Lyria: Phew... That was close.
Vyrn: No kiddin'. Still can't believe Catherine told us to just trick him when he woke up.
Content that they haven't blown their crewmate's cover, they all breathe a sigh of relief.
Catherine: Hehe... I owe you all one.
Night descends on the city, and the streets gradually grow quiet and lonely as residents head to their homes.
Rick, in contrast, couldn't be livelier.
Detective Rick: Wow... How long has it been since I've felt this good?
Detective Rick: I caught the copycats, proved they didn't have anything to do with the real Nightsmoke—no more demotion for me!
Detective Rick: (But something still bugs me about all this...)
He can't help but recall the figure he saw in the smoke back at the boutique.
Detective Rick: That person I saw for just a second... What if it wasn't a dream?
Detective Rick: Am I just making a mountain out of a molehill? If it was real...
Detective Rick: Why did you help me? Nightsmoke...
The name falls from his lips quietly, dispersing into the air just like smoke.
Detective Rick: Huh? Is that...
Just there, silhouetted by the night sky, a figure leaps from rooftop to rooftop. Rick instinctively gives chase.
Through running with all of his might, he is able to recognize the shadow.
Detective Rick: Pant... Pant... So... I did see him! It wasn't a dream!
Detective Rick: It was Nightsmoke!
Desperately he trails the figure, until he loses sight of the fleeing apparition near the outskirts of town.
Detective Rick: Aww... He's gone. Where did he disappear to?
???: Oh? Is that you, Rick?
The sudden voice surprises Rick, causing him to suppress a shocked squeal.
He turns to find Cathy smiling at him.
Detective Rick: Cathy! What are you doing out here all by yourself? At this hour no less.
Cathy: I needed a little something for my cafe, so I went out for a little bit.
Detective Rick: Then let me walk you back. The streets aren't safe at night.
Cathy: Hehe... You're sweet. All right.
They begin walking side-by-side down the boulevard. The delicate pungence of Cathy's perfume catches Rick's nose.
Detective Rick: That scent...
Rick's memories come racing back, and he recalls being smothered by a handkerchief just before falling unconscious.
Detective Rick: Cathy... By any chance, would that fragrance be mixed with something that helps you sleep?
Cathy: Hehe... Aren't you the herb expert. Actually it is.
Rick stops in his tracks. He stares at Cathy with an inquisitive look.
Cathy: Rick? What's wrong?
Detective Rick: It's... nothing...
Detective Rick: (There's no way...)
Rick shakes his head as if to try and stop the conclusions racing to the forefront of his mind.
He catches up to Cathy and they continue their stroll back to the cafe—back to the world they alone share.