Author Topic: Captain Of The Ward  (Read 4443 times)

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Offline Trillian

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Captain Of The Ward
« on: October 17, 2019, 07:47:29 AM »
Ben showered, feeling emotionally numb while his backside ached and healed from the punishment it had gone through with Cain. He was all over the place when it came to the mortal; his new pet. It had been his idea to take him on and now he was walking the cusp of intrigue and regret. He was swinging between wildly different emotions when it came to him; from lust to disrespect, from irritation to guilt, and countless others he couldn't even identify. What had possessed him to change his homelife so drastically in the middle of his campaign?

Because if he won, he wouldn't be paying a lot of attention to Kerr. They were in some crazy sexual tornado at the moment; he'd never had so much of it on a nightly basis. He supposed that Cain had brought on a 'honeymoon period' of a kind. Kerr was certainly infatuated with him, even though Ben didn't know how to feel. That was the point of choosing Cain, though. He was who Kerr lusted after, the same way Ben had lusted after Saraekiel.

Had? Possibly still did. He wouldn't know until he saw the dark angel again, how he would feel. Would he still lose his mind over him? Or had fucking him 'cured' Ben enough to be able to keep Saraekiel at arm's length? He still thought about him... was that an indication of obsession or was it because it was natural to wonder such things?

He hastily finished up in the shower and then dried, pulling on a light grey suit, black shoes, black belt, black shirt, open at the collar. He debated whether or not to wear a tie. He decided not to, even though he had got dressed up. Cain and Kerr were still lolling about on Cain's bed, canoodling and whisper-talking to one another. Ben wasn't paying attention to their conversation but he did loiter at the doorway for them to look his way.

"I'm heading down now," he said needlessly. Both of them knew he was going to meet with the Ward, though he doubted Cain understood why. "Have fun," he said, though he wasn't sure that they would be able to get up to much because Cain's body was well-used by now. He couldn't recover like they could.

It took him two minutes to ride the elevator down to the first floor, which belonged to the Ward in its entirety. His elevator took him behind the reception area, into a little corridor. The main bank opened out into a small foyer and waiting room. Ben exited the corridor and approached reception; two Wardens were working behind a large workstation, one was typing and clicking into a report on her screen, the guy - a young vampire around Ben's age - had been flipping through pages from a large folder and noticed Ben arriving.

"Mr Samson," he greeted, his smile genuine but his tone formal. "What brings you to us, tonight?"

"I'd like to meet with Captain Hadar if she's free? Or to make an appointment if she's not." He wasn't going to start demanding her time or throwing his weight around just because he'd funded them almost two years ago. That money had to be running out soon, even with the free rent. He wasn't here to discuss funding but he was aware that it could be brought up.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 09:51:46 PM »
"Uh, I don't believe that will be a problem, just a sec," the vampire smiled, exchanging pointed looks with his colleague, who hastily saved her work and clicked away to bring up the captain's appointment schedule. The male Warden leant over to inspect the screen briefly, thanked his colleague and picked up the handset of the phone just beyond the folder he'd been reading. "She has nothing scheduled, Mister Samson, so I'll just check if she's free to see you," he trailed off as he punched the one button and the open line connected in an office squirrelled far enough away from reception that the vampires couldn't hear it ringing.

Ben would detect the gruff greeting when the captain picked the phone up on her end, though. "Captain Hadar," the warden said respectfully, "would you have time for an appointment with Mister Samson? He's here, now." He fell quiet as he listened to her response, which went on longer than a simple yes or no, the warden nodding to whatever she was saying. "Well, I could- oh, okay, did you... ? Sure. I have. She did. We will, right away... half an hour, okay. Yes, of course, Captain." He hung up the phone and smiled at Ben. "She'll see you now. Go on through," he bade, aware that Ben knew the way to her office. He turned to his colleague immediately after. "Could you update the captain's schedule for me? She asked me to give Mister Samson half an hour."

When Ben reached Xiamara's office, he'd find the door open, the captain tapping on the keyboard of her computer. Her long brown hair was kept tidy in a central French braid tonight and she was wearing her uniform black button-up shirt with her black utility pants and combat boots. She sported a shiny name badge above the left breast pocket of her shirt. Her dark purple wings and tail were unglamoured and visible, held in a relaxed position behind her. She sat on a broad stool at her desk to allow her wings and tail freedom from being crumpled against a chair, secure in the knowledge that no-one unsuspecting would be exposed to her impish limbs because she was so deeply entrenched in the middle of a magically-enhanced building for supernaturals.

Once she spied Ben, she'd stand and step around her desk in three swift strides to greet him, leaning on the door and sparing him a tight smile as her free arm waved him into the office. Her tail curled around her waist habitually. "Evening. Come in." When he did, she'd close the door behind him to give them some privacy. Her office was nicer than the one she'd had at Haven Crest, it had large, dark-wooded bookshelves and furniture, a kitchenette and a settee and armchair area for more casual conversations. Unfortunately, that area was off limits due to most of the chairs and the coffee table being covered by stacks of papers, books, folders and cardboard boxes. Ben's only choice as far as sitting went was one of the two chairs in front of her desk.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 08:08:55 PM »
Ben took the chair on the right and sat in it, thinking about all the points he wanted to talk about with the Captain. In case he forgot any, he'd listed them onto his phone but hoped that he wouldn't need it.

He'd caught a glimpse of her wings only once before and now that he could see them he was trying his best not to stare. He couldn't help comparing their purple bat-like quality to Saraekiel's inky feathers and found himself wanting to touch them. There was no way she'd let him. He took a moment to feel sad about it before sitting up straight in the chair and then presenting the first of his findings to her.

"Good evening. I've got some news to share, plus we never got around to discussing everything from when I met with the Mayor earlier this week. And I'd like to talk about the District Leaders as well." He pressed his lips firmly together after this last bit of his announcement, wary that she might tell him that any DL information had nothing to do with him.

He'd never asked her for information or asked her to do anything on his behalf that wasn't a good idea for the Ward generally; but it was only after the Ward had delivered the request for a DL meeting that he and the Captain had realised that the District Leaders had associated Ben with the summons. In hindsight, Captain Hadar should have led the meeting and then summoned Ben in to talk about the upcoming election. She'd been dealing with other troubles that night, though. The Ward was still lacking a bit of manpower.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 11:01:17 PM »
Xiamara returned to her desk as Ben sat, straddling her wheeled seat and scooting in closer to the desk while she listened to him, a frown of concentration marring her forehead. She clicked the save button on her computer and closed the document she'd been working on, then closed the folder of papers she'd been looking at while she typed. Putting it aside, she hunted around her keyboard until she found a blue pen and a notepad. She turned it to a new page, clicked the pen and wrote a heading she doubted Ben would understand (though she was sure he'd be able to read his name). It said 'Impromptu meeting with Ben Samson' and the date. It was written in Hebrew, her first language and still the one she wrote fastest.

"Okay," she said simply, looking at him, her pen poised to note down his news. She was wary about his declaration of wanting to talk about the DLs but she wasn't going to jump to any conclusions. He would speak, she'd listen and, if she thought it was appropriate, she'd respond. He didn't seem to have come here to ask her opinion - surely the meeting would've been premeditated and he'd have made an appointment if he wanted to listen to her? She waited for him to start wherever he wanted, not compelled to guide him in any way.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 12:03:18 PM »
He'd expected a prompt so was momentarily flustered when she didn't provide one. He would have to prompt himself, then.

"So, newest information first. I discovered in a roundabout way that Jake has been keeping his people out of Chinatown... to the point that they're not even allowed to go there recreationally." He watched as the Captain scribbled a note and then looked up at him with a frown. Before she could speak, he continued. "I wanted you to know that Wardens patrolling in there would probably be unsupported. I don't know how official it is but that's what's happening."

He made a mental note to talk to Lan Bao about the movements of Jake's people in her territory as well. Was that a deal Jake had cut with her? It was like handing over the district in an unofficial way. A dangerous, uncontrolled way.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2019, 10:52:25 PM »
"If it's not official, how can you be certain it's happening?" the captain enquired gruffly, intrigued by Ben's 'roundabout discovery'.

Her Wardens didn't exactly rely on Jake's forces to curtail trouble in Chinatown but, then again, there was rarely much trouble in Chinatown to worry about. The fact of it wasn't of high concern for her people but the why of it was pertinent to them. What did Central's District Leader know that she didn't?

"And did your source have a theory as to why it's happening?"

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 09:47:14 AM »
Ben stared intensely at the Captain across from him.

“My source doesn't know why, but he doesn’t know what I do.” Rather than pause dramatically, Ben launched into his explanation. He wasn’t one for dramatics and he knew the Captain likely had no patience for it either. “This is not something I’m supposed to know. At the District Leader meeting after I left, Jake put forward a request for Lan Bao to be recognised as the district leader of Chinatown. It was voted down. Then last night I discovered that his uh, one of the important people in his ranks has a... boyfriend in Chinatown.” He didn’t want to name Luke or Harm. “And I met the boyfriend. He asked me if I knew why Jake was disallowing his staff not to enter Chinatown. So now they're meeting up in other locations. Knowing both those things makes it look a certain way, yeah?”

He wondered if he was jumping to conclusions. When it came to Jake he always did assume the worst, and he knew that the Captain might come up with another explanation, but to Ben it looked like something was going on, and if the Ward were out of the loop, what else were they out of the loop on? Was Ben's perceived relationship with them putting them in danger because Jake had dismissed them as ‘Ben's people’?
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
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Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 01:36:43 PM »
The information about Lan Bao becoming a DL - and Chinatown potentially becoming another district in its own right - had Xaimara's eyebrows lifting. The Kuei-Jin were very controlled people (thanks to their leader, Xiamara assumed) but that didn't lessen the headaches posed by yet another leader coming to power and forcing the Ward to kowtow to their demands. It was a delicate enough balance as it was, another one in the mix wasn't news she welcomed and it was likely obvious to Ben in the tightness around her mouth as she wrote on her notebook.

Chinatown district and district leader proposal by Jake voted down in recent meeting. DL's team staying out of the area by request?

"It makes it look like there's an agreement in place between Mister McCloud and Ms. Lan," the captain agreed, her thoughtful gaze drifting off her notes and eventually up to Ben's eyes as she thought through the implications of this news. "It's already difficult enough to get acknowledgement for our work across the city. Districts within districts is just... " she broke off with an impatient sigh, not wishing to admit the degree to which the proposal would add yet another barrier in the minefield she was forced to navigate nightly. She didn't want to sound like she was complaining but the news wasn't welcome.

Ben had had a very productive night last night, it seemed. She knew he'd quizzed her people in the Quarter and given himself a little tour of the place. She wondered if he'd tell her what that was all about but she wasn't one to indulge curiosity for the sake of it. She'd attributed the visit to his election campaign and it was a satisfactory enough reason for her to not pursue it further.

"Well. Forewarned is forearmed. Thank you for the information, I appreciate not being blindsided. If something comes of it, we'll be ready. I'll brief the company about Chinatown, too. I doubt it'll have too much effect on things but you never know. You also wanted to talk about the mayor?" From one distasteful subject to another. Ben certainly knew how to spread misery about. The left side of her face scrunched up mildly as she thought of Figueroa with all the disdain he'd ever bestowed upon her.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 07:06:09 PM »
"Yeah," he said, but shook his head to deny his own agreement. "Before I get to him I wanted to say something about the Districts. If I manage to being Central District Leader, I'll want Ward law to take precedence. I've never liked having to reassess what I'm supposed to be doing and saying just because I drove to a different part of the city. I'll be making it one of my agenda promises, to push Ward law across the city districts. I'm thinking you won't have an issue with that but I wanted to let you know before I make it a campaign promise. That okay?"

He was prepared for a 'yes' because of what Charli had told him and the Captain's complaint just now. Districts within Districts wouldn't matter too much to her if the law was the same across them all. The fewer districts the better, though.

"Mayor Figueroa wanted a cushion of protection around the city because he's getting heat from the Hampton Police Department. Apparently there are some careless murders on the border by, um, vampires. Forensics saying bodies bled dry," he said with a firm press of his lips. Hampton bordered the North and East, which meant Saraekiel's and Charon's laws were too lax or their area was too big for them to police. Ben wasn't going to be addressing that with either of them. The Ward could do that.

"And Figueroa also wanted me to fund a special unit of first responders for his police department. I'd rather they were an extension of the Ward - in secret if they have to be. They would need training from your people anyway but if he wants to give you people, I'm thinking that's good?"

Ben hoped that the Captain would want that, otherwise negotiations would start badly.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 10:38:37 PM »
"Excellent," Xiamara confirmed, offering Ben a rare smile when he told her he was interested in pushing for the City Ward to have autonomy.

It was exactly what the city needed but she hadn't thought of a way to leverage her viewpoint or curry favour with any of the leaders in order to even broach the subject. She knew none of them were interested in acceding power. Frankly, she didn't have a great deal of faith Ben would be able to accomplish his goal but if he was elected leader of Central and the Ward had complete control there, it would be a very successful start.

It was also another good reason to vote for him.

"Hampton?" she queried, frowning again as she turned to her computer, listening as he spoke but pulling up statistics for the bodies they'd had in the city limits through the year. Since the Academy had opened, there'd been a noticeable drop in vampire-attributed deaths and the Ward hadn't caught enough in the North and East for it to have raised alarms.

That could be because human forces from Hampton had got to the bodies first or her wardens had slipped up but it was more likely to be a numbers/area/DLs problem. Those districts were large, the Ward was underrepresented in them and their leaders weren't vigilant in patrolling their borders as a primary line of defence. It wasn't her place to tell them what to do but copping the flack for their mistakes pissed her off. She made another note in her book about following it up.

"We have cushioned the city as much as we're able," she pointed out, not wishing Ben to think the Ward wasn't doing its job. "But I'll look into it and see what more I can do. What sort of 'special unit of first responders' is he talking about? To do what?" she demanded, her tone snappier than she'd intended because she had little patience for the mayor's nonsense and didn't understand what was meant by the request. Her assumption was that it had something to do with a unit designed to get in their way and act with force in supernatural situations. "What does he want them to do and why should my people train them?" she bristled, ready to shoot the idea down simply because of its source.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2019, 06:56:39 AM »
Ben took a long, slow breath and held it for a moment before speaking. "The human police force is far-reaching and sometimes they come across supernatural threats. Whenever they don't understand something, they'll be able to call a special unit or have a special callsign, whatever it is," Ben flapped a dismissive hand, knowing the details weren't important right now, "and then the taskforce who has knowledge, can take over and send away the uninformed, and deal with the threat, and they could call the Ward for backup."

Before the Captain could reply (and he liked the fact that she was a little slower to respond than most, because it meant he could say all that he wanted without interruption), he shared his thoughts. "I thought it would be good to have some kind of taskforce with the police who are in the know. Figueroa was thinking in terms of protecting his police but I was thinking in terms of alerting the Ward at the right time. It's like having the human police force calling you for backup without realising, and then having a special group of them supporting you."

Of course Ben flipped it around so that Figueroa's taskforce were supporting the Ward. When presenting to the Mayor he'd said that the Ward would support his people. He didn't really care who was in the lead, as long as they started working together.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2019, 08:45:58 AM »
As Ben spoke, Xia’s tail wound around her left forearm and the spade tip pressed flat against her open palm. Her fingers absently stroked it as the tip folded and waved in between each finger and out again, flowing in and around her hand like dark purple silk. It was a soothing gesture, a habit like people that played with their hair or gnawed on their cheeks might have and it signalled that her ire was calming as she thought through his explanation.

It was another good idea - too good to have come from an ass like Figueroa alone, she believed, though Ben had given him the credit. Her wings quivered momentarily as discomfort rippled through her. She didn’t want to believe anything intelligent had come from that man but she’d be no commander if she wrote him off as a fool. Eddy Figueroa was no man’s fool, she knew that (women he couldn’t give two shits about), but it didn’t make her happy to have to respect him.

“And that’s what you meant about him giving me people,” she mused, finally compelled to stop thinking and make some more notes. When she was done, she lifted her gaze to meet Ben’s again. “It’s a good idea, much as it pains me to say it, considering the source. Do you have a timeframe for implementation? I’ll need to find out if their units are on any particular intake cycle we need to work with. Has he stated numbers of people to be trained? And does he want supernaturals on the team? Because, y’know, a combined force would be true integration and my goal,” she asserted, looking at Ben pointedly.

Few beings were interested in listening to her theories that the species could cooperate successfully if they were willing to compromise but she’d had the best responses from vampires. The elder ones, anyway. Older beings had seen enough to understand all the intricacies of war and peace and even though she was only two hundred and fifty, she’d seen far too much of the former in her lifetime to not insist on striving for the latter at every opportunity. It could be done, she believed but Ben Samson was about thirty years old and she wasn’t sure that someone like him could grasp the bigger picture.

He’d completely destabilised the district with this election, after all. Yes, it was so he could affect change but in a highly aggravational manner that was, on the surface, at cross purposes with his intent. She hadn’t decided yet whether it was an inspired or idiotic move. She probably wouldn’t until it was all over and she could see how the wind was blowing.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2019, 08:59:17 AM »
"We haven't hammered out the details," Ben admitted, not adding that he didn't think Figueroa liked or trusted him yet, though they'd started on a reasonable note. "Organising forces isn't something I know anything about so it makes sense for whoever he puts in charge at his end to meet with you." Ben shrugged, not wanting to lose the little time he had with the Captain to details he couldn't work out anyway.

"I'd like to donate a couple of armoured trucks for the Ward, so the Wardens can radio for them to pick up whoever is under arrest. The idea for a vehicle came from one of yours. I can do it through one of the shell companies to keep myself anonymous," he said, the closest he'd come to an apology for his association with the Ward.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2019, 09:30:44 AM »
The captain merely snorted and nodded at Ben’s assessment of what made sense to him, as far as the organisation of forces went. Those words meant different things to men than they did to women, to officers than they did soldiers and supes than they did to humans. Xia wasn’t surprised he didn’t understand the irony in his own statement.

That fight was hers to have, as it had been for two centuries - so pretty boys like him could sit back and enjoy their positions of privilege freely, ignorant to how hard it was for others to gain the rewards they deserved. She didn’t begrudge him for it, it just made her feel weary.

She was reminded of that privilege almost immediately as he casually offered her armoured vehicles.  Not even one, but ‘a couple’, just like that. Her eyes widened. “That’s... very generous of you. You know how expensive they’ll be, though? They’d need to be constructed of iron and titanium to be effective and two of them? They’ll set you back millions,” she cautioned. She’d looked into it, once upon a time but had decided paying her wardens’ wages for five years was more cost-effective and less of a pipe dream than buying one vehicle.

Offline Trillian

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Re: Captain Of The Ward
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2019, 09:51:09 AM »
Millions? He'd looked at military-grade armoured vehicles and they'd come in at a half million each. He hadn't thought about custom-made iron and titanium though. Maybe a million each?

"Uh, I'll talk to Kerr about it but if they're around a million each I don't think it should be an issue. The Academy is the only business losing money, everything else is turning a profit." It struck him, then, that the only thing he'd managed to organise was a strain on their financials. Ugh. He'd known it would take years before the budget balanced out, and the Dean and accountant he'd hired would help with that, but it still made him feel bad that his one contribution to his financial union with Kerr was a money pit.

"That brings up something else, actually. So far my initial donation has supported the Ward. I'd like to see the District Leaders offer an amount towards your budget. There's six of them all up so maybe work out an annual total that suits you and request it of them? It would be most helpful to me if you'd ask for it before the campaign is decided. It'll separate us as much as possible so I don't get accused of getting preferred treatment from you in exchange for free rent. It'll also make the whole 'Ward Law controls my district' thing look more above-board rather than looking like I've put you in my pocket."

He wished he could've phrased it in a nicer way. He hoped she wouldn't be offended.
INFUSCO : Ben : Hugh : Lan Bao : Mick : Todd : Vincent : Win :
HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :