4 x 4

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Fantastic Four

And he has. Nicky figures out that the kid is Chase Ryan, and heads on over to the opulent Ryan McMansion. The door is opened by what appears to be Chase's older sister, a not-so-accomplished liar who claims that her truancy is due to a bout of illness and not, say, by a bout of drinking with her friends until Nicky rang the doorbell. Nicky plays bumpkin just long enough to lull the girl into complacency, then zings her by asking for her parents' work or cell numbers. "Okay, they're skiing in Vail. What are you going to do -- arrest me for having a kegger?" she snots. Nicky's all, "No. Not exactly." This conversation takes a turn for the more awkward when a bare-chested boy drapes himself on the girl and asks, "What's going on, babe?" Nicky blurts out, "How old's he?" The girl snots, "My father's a lawyer, so I probably shouldn't be talking to you." Nicky then steers the conversation around to Chase. Yes, he is the girl's brother. No, he isn't around. He told her he was spending the night with his friend Andy. Nicky asks for a picture of the boy. When the girl brings it over, we see that it is Chase, and he looks very young. Nicky gets very sober and says, "I'm going to need your parents' contact information in Vail, if you don't mind."

Cut to Nicky in an interrogation room with Andy and his mom. Nicky says soberly, "You're Chase's best friend, Andy. I need to know what happened last night." Andy's mom replies, "Andy was supposed to sleep over at Chase's, but Chase wasn't feeling well, so Andy came home early instead." Nicky tells the nice lady to butt out and let Andy talk. Nicely, of course, since this is Nicky and he's physically incapable of summoning the snark that flows so naturally from Hodges or Brass.

Andy sings like Vienna Boys' Choir: he had told his mom he was sleeping at Chase's house, Chase told his sister he was sleeping at Andy's house, and then they lurked around the high school party. We flash back to the adolescent bacchanal. Chase and Andy are drinking beer. Andy says, "This tastes horrible," and Chase replies, "Keep drinking. It must get better." Ah, the sweet naiveté of youth. Andy explains that "Jackie caught us and made us leave. We promised to go to my house. But we hit the bars instead." Y'all know "the bars" is shorthand for "wandered around town," right?

Nicky then wanders into Hodges's lab and exhorts him, "Talk to me, Goose." Oh my GOD, please don't tell me Nicky's in the throes of a Top Gun thing. If Hodges is Goose to Nicky's Maverick, who's the Iceman in this scenario? Warrick? Chomp. Cavaliere? Chomp. More disturbingly...who's his Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood?

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