10.6 Post Press

by Matt P.

Walter stepped back in to the same conference room where they had started this whole thing. It seemed like it had been twenty years ago that Ashland showed up, although he knew that it hadn’t been. Before the press conference he had managed to get in to the green dress uniform he kept in his locker, and had even thrown on the hat that the creepy couple in town had made him when he was first hired. They’d pulled appropriate rank pins out of storage, and so he had walked out to give a word to the press looking like it hadn’t been a complete shock he had been named acting Marshal.

Now he slumped down in a chair in the conference room and reached up to undo the high collar on the uniform. “You know, the nice thing about my previous leadership career was that I was legally barred from discussing them.” Button undone, he tossed the hat on to the table. “Also if I’m acting Marshal can I switch us to a beret, or at least a traditional police hat?”

Leah, who had accompanied him back to the station while running point from her cell, laughed as she took a seat as well. She was followed by Tania Summers, Ashland, as well as Antigone, Siobhan, and both Ryans. “Not a fan of the Smokey the Bear hat?” She asked. She hadn’t bothered changing—she hadn’t been on camera.

“Not even slightly,” he sighed. “But with the outfit I can’t think of what would be better. Also I have no idea what our budget is. Also also there are literally a thousand other more important things to worry about than changing uniforms, especially since we don’t wear the whole getup most of the time.”

Ashland took a seat. “It was well done, Walt. I continue to be surprised by how many times people in Border will buy an excuse of ‘sudden and unlikely to be repeated gang attacks’ without asking why you have so many unexpected gangs. But who am I to complain. What’s next?”

Walter was about to respond to either her statements or her question, when Chief Deputy Marshal Lucy Alvarez walked in. She had been in the press conference with him, and was in a similar uniform; she took off her brown hat an tossed it on to the table next to his. “Chief Deputy,” Walter greeted her.

Lucy Alvarez was a tall, striking woman with light brown skin and dark hair she kept in a sensible bun. She was a couple years older than Walter but not by much, and she had been in the PD for her entire professional career. “Marshal,” she greeted, without a trace of bitterness or irony. “Call me Lucy. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the people in this room have some idea what’s going on, all things considered; so I’m going to cut to the chase and say that I know what’s happening too, and we can skip all the posturing.” She specifically looked at Tania—Morgan had stayed back at the Hospital to help where she could, and Tania had met them at the station—and nodded to her. “Ma’am.”

That told Walter as much as her words did, and he nodded. “Welcome to the war party then, Lucy. Here’s where we stand: After meeting with the vampire leader, they attacked. Allegedly because we were getting too close to their plans,” Walter explained. “She called it a tactical withdrawal. We’ve stopped their attacks and have to have hurt them back. But we don’t know where they’ve gone to, or what exactly they were even doing in the first place.”

Alvarez nodded at that. “So it’s got something to do with your investigation into Reverend Morrison and her background; and that research lab that you found?”

“I’ve already sent people to check on the Reverend, and the lab. We didn’t have reports of them being attacked, but that could either mean they weren’t or that they were killed too quickly to report,” Leah answered immediately. “We should know something in the next few moments.”

Ashland looked like she had been about to ask that, but settled for a nod to Leah’s answer. “Since we’re operating under the assumption that those two things are related we need to use them to find out exactly how. What happened, and what does it have to do with…vampires,” she finished, looking like she couldn’t believe she was saying that word seriously.

“And then we need to find them,” Walter agreed. “Which brings us to an interesting question…do we arrest Vampires?”

Tania laughed, a harsh sound that was at most a cousin to something actually joyful. “It’s not the normal treatment, no. Are you proposing to keep them in the basement? Or the morgue?”

Siobhan visibly rolled her eyes, and Walter scowled. “We’re the Police, Tania, which means we’re not in the business of just wasting people. At least not in this department,” Walter offered with a shake of his head. “It’s worth thinking about whether or not there is a way for us to do that here.”

Ashland looked over to Tania, squinting. “Can someone adequately explain to me why the owner of the local newspaper is sitting in on a strategy meeting of the police department?” She asked. Walter shook his head.

“Nope,” he offered simply. Tania bared her teeth to Ashland, apparently content to let that serve as her answer. Ashland didn’t look particularly impressed by the answer, and for a moment Walter was worried she was going to press it and they were either going to have a problem or he was going to have to explain that Faeries were real too; but after a moment she apparently thought better of it and shrugged.

“Fine, not my department, I’ll look forward to seeing my name in the local paper. Senior Special Agent, technically,” she pointed out, giving Walter a falsely angelic smile as she used what he knew to be her cover title.

“Alright,” Walter interjected before anything else could be said. “We’ve all done enough for tonight. Everyone go try to get the sleep you can, we’re going to have long days coming up and we’re going to need it. I’ll message if anything comes up.”