No one has come forward to claim Guy and the police investigation has stalled. Rather than have him placed in the foster care system (a situation that no one wants), the Winterlys more or less adopt him. Aside from feeding, housing, and clothing him, they also enroll him in school. Guy struggles with his school work, given that he has missed out on a few years of formal education (and thinks it's a way for adults to covertly spy on him...somehow), so Marko offers to tutor him.
He has also more or less gotten Tula on board with this tutoring. Marko has found that it is sometimes easier to have a peer explain a concept to you than a teacher. Tula is forced to grin and bear it when Guy asks her another unbearably simple question while she speeds through her assignments.
"What's money?" Guy ludly inquires. He squints at his math homework, "And what's a 'simoley-in'?"
Marko has already trained himself to mask his surprise at such questions. Since Guy has come to live with them, he has also had to explain how to climb stairs, open doors, and sit down in chairs.
"Maybe Tula can help you," Marko prompts his granddaughter to help out.
"It's this thing adults have," she launches into her explanation, "and they use it to buy things, like food and clothes." If her grandfather weren't here, she would add about how it's used to control people; people in power tend to have lots of money, and they can use it to get others to do what they want. But something tells her that's not the kind of thing Marko would say, so she keeps that part to herself.
Outside the doorbell rings. Paolo is at the gym working out and Persis is out fishing, leaving Krista and Marko as the only available adults.Krista is hard at work on the last of her harvesters.
"I'll get it," Krista says, lowering her blowtorch and wrench. She puts her tools onto the inventing bench and quickly dusts her hands off.
She opens the door and is surprised to see Tulip.
"Tulip, hi... nice outfit," she greets, arching her eyebrow at Tulip's graduation robes.
Tulip smiles, "It's a long story." Specifically, a long undercover story. If she were allowed to, and were here under different circumstances, she would tell Krista all about busting a drug ring during a graduation party in a neighboring town. But she can't, and isn't here for a social visit. She rubs the back of her neck uncomfortably.
"Paolo's at the gym, if you're here to see him," Krista says, oblivious to Tulip's unease.
"Actually...I'm here to see you." She shifts her weight from foot-to-foot. She wishes she wasn't the one who had to do this.
Krista blinks in surprise. "....Oh?"
Tulip clears her throat, then looks Krista directly in the eyes.
"I'm here to arrest you."
Krista's heart drops to her stomach. "A-a-arrest me? W-what for? Are you joking or something?"
Tulip looks at Krista's panicked expression and feels a pang of sympathy. "No Krista...I'm not."
Tulip looks away as Krista swipes at the tears pooling in her eyes. "But why? I-I didn't do anything."
"We both know that's not true. I have the formal charges here. Please don't make this any harder than it has to be."
Krista feels completely numb. This was never supposed to happen. When she speaks again, it feels like someone else is talking.
"Will someone call Paolo for me?"
Tulip nods once.
Krista goes willingly.
It feels like hours pass while she waits in the interrogation room. It's grey and cold, just like in those cop shows she liked to watch in Isla Paradiso. She always thought it was just a cliche... but here she is.
Or is she? In the deafening silence, Krista feels detached from everything. This room might be in the Appaloosa Plains Police Department, but it's as if it occupies some sort of pocket dimension, completely cut off from reality.
For the first time in a long time, she thinks about her mother. She would be horrified to see her daughter like this, locked up and so far away from home. She worked hard to give Krista a good upbringing. Krista only realizes this now, sitting here in this unreality; Krista has Paolo and her in-laws, she and her mother lived alone. Krista's grandparents died long before she was born, Marko and Persis are still here.
She works for her brothers. Her mother worked for no one but herself, writing books to pay the bills. Maybe, if she had lived longer, she could've been a famous author. Krista would have finished school in Isla Paradiso, and she would have some other job, never knowing about her father's side of the family.
At the very least, Krista would not be here, in this town.
For the first time since she's met Paolo, she wishes she weren't.
She is so deep in thought that the loud squeal of the door opening does not register, nor does Roman Loveland's sudden appearance. It's only when he unceremoniously dumps a file onto the table that Krista jumps in her chair, surprised to see someone else there.
If Roman is surprised to see his former school mate here, of all places, he does not show it. As a police officer in a small town, this probably happens more often than is comfortable. Krista doesn't know it, but she's not the first Parrott to be interrogated in this room by Roman. She is the first one not to immediately clam up and ask for a lawyer, something Roman knows he should take advantage of, for the sake of interrogation, but can't quite bring himself to do.
"You know you can ask for a lawyer, Krista. We'll place the call for you."
Krista numbly shakes her head. She knows any smart person would take him up on his offer, but she can't. Nothing will change what she's done. All the inner rationalizations, the justifications... being in here, where she can't escape from herself, they all fall away.
She deserves this.
Roman nods, then re-positions the file so that Krista can read its contents. "Do you know what these are?"
Krista tugs the folder closer to her. She sees a picture of a harvester, the prototype she showed to Keith in the junkyard. There's another of a hollowed out children's toy, she guesses from the batch of wind-up robots she sold to her brother several weeks before. Underneath the pictures are notes and records. Her vision swims with tears, and she buries her face in her hands.
"I made those," she confirms needlessly.
"We know. Did you know what they would be used for?" There's enough plausible deniability here for Krista to be acquitted for the toys, but for the harvester... she already put up 10 for direct purchase by Pablo. The sale of harvesters is regulated enough to land Krista in hot water; the average citizen is not supposed to possess one without paperwork proving that the buyer will use it for a legitimate purpose, such as clean-up after demolition. Being a small-town crime syndicate, Pablo and co. don't have such paperwork. Not legitimately, anyways.
But Krista isn't dangerous. Roman knows she could get a very lenient plea deal, or even be fully acquitted if she would call a lawyer.
But she doesn't. He should feel lucky, but looking at her, all Roman feels is sadness. After having the great displeasure of "questioning" her brothers and investigating them, he knows Krista doesn't belong here. She shouldn't be here.
If her mother were still alive, she wouldn't be.
Confession is supposed to be liberating.
But Krista is anything but free.
AN: This chapter would have been a lot longer, but if I didn't cut it off here it would have been monstrous.
Roman Loveland is, indeed, a cop. Although in game he actually recently went into the forensics branch, but here he was still a patrol officer or something similar.
I made the police station myself, hence why it's so...bare.