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Author Topic: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)  (Read 1570 times)

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Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« on: September 18, 2010, 08:57:12 AM »
I am a Watcher.

For millennia I have watched you fall and redeem, live and die, rock and roll. I have seen so much, yet I can tell you so little. The bounds on my ability to teach you frustrate me as much as they leave you dangerously ignorant, but I cannot help you. I am a Watcher. My name is Brian, and it is my role in the Symphony to watch and record the War for posterity. There are few of us left, but I am neither the first nor the last. Some feel my kind are obsolete; do more harm than good. You’re allowed to have your opinions; I have no influence over them. The point is that I am here, and I am watching. But this isn’t a story about me. It never is. It’s about her.


She is young and innocent, brought forth into a Symphony she can hear and understand, but in ways totally foreign to her being. Earth is a noisy, cacophonous place compared to Heaven, and like most of her kind, she’s been tossed into a Cold War she knows very little about, nor the dangers it poses to both herself and humanity as a whole. She has a mission, her Word, as guidance, but little else. She serves the Word of Judgment, and while she is my enemy by default as a result, there is no better Heavenly safety net than the Word of Judgment. Her Archangel, Dominic, visits her regularly, as he does all his Servitors. I’m sure his infinite vision can see me lurking in the shadows, yet he allows me to exist. I don’t know why, and I don’t question it.

Dinah is a Mercurian, an Intercessionist in the language of her Judgment collaborators. Of all her celestial companions she is, unsurprisingly, the most human. She lives and works as one; she goes out to lunch; she pays taxes; she has a driver’s license. In this way she is a bit of a paradox as Judges go. Always working, always on duty, other Judges had a hard time reconciling a coffee break. But Dinah takes a different angle; she needs to fit in, disappear, and infiltrate humanity.

She does this through her Role as Assistant District Attorney for Brown County. She took the last name of Archer to help fill in the gaps. She spends a significant amount of time in court, but she also handles various legal questions emerging from the Municipal Ordinance Office. The unfortunate resulting acronym leads to many references to cattle from the District Attorney’s Office in regards to the inner workings and competencies of MOO. Dinah’s dealings with MOO usually involve questions of land use and permits. The two offices, plus a dozen other City Departments, shared a 15-storey building downtown that had been built with the sterile architecture of the 1960s. Ironically, it was her liaising with MOO that kept her thumb to the pulse of Celestial activity within Brown County.

Brown County Courthouse was the other side of her profession. This place also happened to be the power center of Judgment within the local area, for the courthouse was a Tether. Circuit court judges have always held a tremendous amount of power locally, for good or for ill. In many jurisdictions, they are the law, with few resources for those wanting to appeal their idiosyncratic judgments. Fortunately, Brown County Courthouse has been blessed for the last 37 years by the Honorable Benjamin R. Kingsley. Judge Kingsley was the first African American appointed to the bench in Brown County. A cantankerous Southern Baptist who is as deeply familiar with the Constitution as he is the Bible, he has never found them to be in conflict, and has never, in 37 years, made an unjust decision (though some of those who have tried, and failed, to influence him might disagree). With an even-handed mix of uncompromising judgment and compassion, and some occasional unorthodox rulings, he has managed to push hundreds, possibly thousands of people coming through his courtroom toward their Destinies, and away from their Fates. Dominic noticed Judge Kingsley in 1980, and appointed a Cherub to watch over him. Ten years ago his foresight was rewarded when the Cherub called the Archangel of Judgment to consecrate a new Tether.


The Cherub, Hurtriel, became the Seneschal of the new Tether, where he typically appears as the stoic court bailiff Howard Jackson. If the Courthouse is the command center for Judgment in Brown County, Hurtriel is its commander. Hurtriel also fills the role of being Dinah’s current direct supervisor. Her close professional proximity keep the two well-informed on the mundane goings-on in the County, while Dinah, with her mobility, is charged with obtaining and sharing information regarding all known local Celestial activity.

Hurtiel, as are most Cherubim Judges, is a bit of a paradox. He is entirely devoted to his Word, his Tether, and his attuned. His is a loving soul, but he doesn’t show it much at all. He is not attuned to Dinah, his devotion to the Tether and Judge Kingsley take higher priority, but he serves as her guide through the Symphony, and is always willing to offer advice and listen, as long as she comes to him to ask for it. He literally loves her, a commonality for associates of Cherubim, but he rarely shows it, and isn’t hesitant to use the “tough love” human parents often give their delinquent adolescent children when he judges it best.


A fellow Cherub to Hurtriel, Yrian is a Servitor of the Sword currently on a vague, long term mission for Laurence within Brown County. Hurtriel thought it prudent to introduce Dinah to him due to the fact that Yrian was an able and willing protector of the less combative Angels within the City. Yrian is a bit of a simpleton, but a devoted and loving protector, and a good Catholic. His primary contact with mundanes is with children as a volunteer Sunday School Teacher. His simple ways, stocky stature, and his storytelling abilities make him a hit with children. He concentrates his teachings on selfless duty and loyalty, and the somewhat more controversial actual stamping out of selfish or corruptive activity. In practice, this has led to Dinah pulling some strings in the DA’s Office to keep him from getting into too much trouble under Corporeal law. Thus, their relationship is symbiotic one. It isn’t for certain known but likely that Yrian has attuned himself to Dinah.

The Triad.

As with most Judges, Dinah is also assigned to a Triad. Hers is a typical Local Triad, assigned to an area covering roughly a dozen counties, including Brown. Her associates are also typical: a Seraph, Sophereth (Sophie for short), and a Cherub, Clement. Both are relatively young angels assigned to other areas outside Brown County. Sophie is intelligent and extremely well-balanced. Others usually perceive this as being cold, but really that she carries little prejudgment in her mind, and if she does, she doesn’t show it. She is professional and merciful, a surgeon removing the cancers in Angels that might fall.

Clement is much more active emotionally, and becomes embittered when other angels show attitude towards the Triad, especially if they are being questioned, and even more so if they are Servitors of War. He is quite able to be the “Bad Cop” in interrogations in which Dinah or Sophie play the “Good Cop.” He is also the only member of the Triad with much combat capability, so he serves as the Triad’s muscle as well, although in Celestial combat Sophie becomes a much more potent weapon.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 10:37:58 AM »
In just a few minutes, work at the courthouse would begin, and there was an unpredictable yet steady stream of people moving towards the building.  The day had so far been filled with clouds and watery sunshine, and the scene was almost as drab as the grey skies -- dark business suits, dark briefcases, the distinctive blue police uniforms, occasionally the tan of a sheriff's deputy -- but now and then there was a flash of color.  One person carried a brilliant red umbrella against the possibility of a sudden shower; another wore a blouse of a vivid green.

The building was drab at a glance as well, though a closer look -- a real look -- would reveal a certain beauty.  The architecture was standard, the construction solid if uninspired; but the grey marble columns alone hid more colors then most ever saw.  It was all meant to overawe, to impress those who came there with a sense of the power and perpetuity of the Law, and it did that well.  But those few who could see its true nature found many other things here, far beyond that.

For Dinah, the place was an incongruous mixture of peace and endless movement.  It was like walking in the eye of a hurricane, for every day she was part of the chaos but never quite swallowed up by it, as so many were.  It was hard for a corporeal to avoid being caught up in the swirl of emotions and duties, forgetting themselves; but that could never happen to Dinah.

She looked like any other young attorney -- her charcoal grey suit and blue blouse would blend in anywhere in the courthouse; her straight dark hair barely brushed her shoulders; and she walked in the same hurried fashion, often with her cell phone to her ear or while balancing a hurried breakfast of a danish and coffee.  But as close as she was to being part of this cross-section of humanity, however much a select few of her co-workers thought that she was part of it, for all intents and purposes, she could never truly belong.  She had a higher destiny that she could not, must not waver from, and the thought was both sobering and liberating.

She strode up the steps, slowing as she passed Hurtriel in the cavernous lobby, her practical heels echoing on the marble floor.  "Good morning, Howard," she said, as always feeling faintly awkward about addressing him so informally; but 'Mr. Jackson' would have been terribly out of place, given their respective Roles.  "How does everything look today?"

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 07:05:41 PM »
“Ms. Archer,” Hurtriel smiled, his friendly toothy grin contrasted against the darkness of his skin. “How are you this grey day? Trying to stay dry out there?” His large, dark forearms folded across his chest exposed by the short sleeves of his white button down shirt. His gold shield identifying him as an officer of the court flashed in brilliance, and his left arm had three blue pointed bars embroidered on it. He wore polished police shoes, and black pants that were held up by a well-stocked utility belt complete with handcuffs, mace, and a sidearm. He also carried around a ring of at least four dozen keys, which made his jingly announced his approach distinctively. He had dark brown eyes that were more knowing than friendly, but they were also welcoming and protective, at least to fellow Dominicans. They were tempered by a few strands of coarse gray curls at his temples. 

Brown County Courthouse was the house that Hurtriel had built. He kept track of everyone that came and went, and led a fastidious security team that included to Soldiers of God. Apart from Dinah, there could sometimes be another angel or two working menial tasks to work off Dissonance. In a pinch he would ask Dinah to do a favor or two, but he didn’t like pull her away from her desk job if he could help it, and he was stubbornly self-sufficient.

Using her perceptive Resonance on him, Dinah found him to be a typical Cherub of Judgment. He maintained a number of relationships, mostly with angels she didn’t know, but by far his strongest relationship was with Judge Kingsley. Hurtriel’s connection with Kingsley was even stronger than his connection to his own Tether. As far as Dinah knew, Kingsley had no idea of Hurtriel’s true nature, nor even that his name was indeed Hurtriel, and not Howard Jackson. It spoke to both Hurtriel’s ability and his loyalty that he could maintain such a personal devotion to Jackson, a mundane, but also obey the wishes of Dominic in hiding his true identity from mundanes. Not surprisingly, the relationship with Kingsley, precisely because it led to the creation of his Tether, dominated Hurtriel’s life.

Dinah had met Judge Kingsley several times, and had argued cases before him as well. He was a man that knew how to handle himself in a courtroom and make it his own. His strongest relationship was with his children, followed by his wife and Howard Jackson. He had Jackson had been working court together for more than 20 years, and as one of his quirks he constantly insisted that he had aged better than Howard over that time. He was proud of the work he had done in the seeking of justice, and by all accounts he had every right to be.

“McGloin is already upstairs,” Hurtriel explained. “It’s unusual for him when he’s not scheduled for court.” Executive Assistant District Attorney Terry McGloin was Dinah’s professional partner within the Brown County District Attorney’s Office. He was a brilliant man with an aggressive sense of justice, but with enough common sense to make him highly effective in court. He was a thorough researcher, an excellent writer, and diligent with record keeping and investigation. He didn’t try cases he didn’t believe in, which didn’t make him the favorite with the District Attorney, but it gave him an immense sense of character. He was in his forties, divorced with two daughters that he didn’t get to see enough since they lived with their mother in another state with her new husband.

In the early morning hours the courthouse was a very familiar place. The regulars came in, bought a coffee and a donut from the stand in the lobby, and socialized with each other absently as they made their way to their offices and lived their professional lives. This formed the patterned backdrop for the cacophony of humanity that filled it every day.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 10:56:54 AM »
"The sun does keep trying to shine, at least," Dinah replied, resigned as always to the unpredictable weather.  She actually rather liked it, though she knew many of her fellows, celestial and corporeal, who found the very idea of rain or snow distinctly unpleasant -- though several of those celestials, at least, seemed to find nearly everything about the mortal realm unpleasant in one way or another.

She paused as a woman was ushered past on her way to trial, escorted by a bailiff.  Though the woman hardly looked the part -- she was a well-dressed brunette, neat and tidy, apparently just another thirty-something wife and mother -- Dinah knew otherwise, thanks to the abilities granted her by Dominic.  The woman was there to face charges of child neglect, after leaving her five-year-old daughter unattended in her car.  It was meant to be for a few minutes, while the woman met with the man who was supplying her with falsified prescriptions for the painkillers she'd slowly become addicted to; but had become over an hour.  First her connection had tried to up the price, then hit her when she protested and left her unconscious -- and without the prescriptions -- after he'd cleaned out her purse.

Her regret, shame, and terror at what might have happened to her child were almost palpable, and Dinah wondered if they would be enough.  Already the woman seemed very slightly frayed around the edges, trying to keep herself together as she entered the court without her usual crutch.

Then Hurtriel spoke again, and she turned back to him.  "That's unusual, all right," she agreed.  "I suppose I'd better get up there.  Looks like this might be a busy day."  She smiled, glanced once more at the woman as she vanished from sight, and turned towards the stairs and McGloin's office.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2010, 09:12:43 AM »
“Good morning, Dinah,” Terry said as she came into the suite. McGloin was in the office even before the paralegals today. He was seated in the conference room, pouring over a mass of documents that formed the exculpatory evidence of the Geddys case. It filled eight standard paper boxes of folders and files, and the largest case in Brown County in the last three years. The case was scheduled to go to trial in just a few days, and thus formed a reasonable excuse for McGloin to be in the office early.

The real reason he was in early was that he had a date last night, and like most men, he had a well formulated plan in place to try to sleep with her without spending the night. Having to go to work early the next morning was the oldest excuse in the book, but an effective one, and one he had made true just to cover his bases. The woman’s name, Dinah knew, was Julie. The two had been out of few dates before here and there.

Humans had a lot of quirks when it came to sexual relations that the vast majority of celestials had a difficult time understanding. Most celestials had at least experimented, but few could form or mimic the emotional attachment that results from such relationship. Most angels avoided the act entirely. Servitors of Eli, Novalis, Andrealphus, and others were notable exceptions, as were Mercurians, Impudites and particularly the dreaded Grigori in general, as well as a smattering of other celestials. Part of the problem was that celestials could differentiate the emotion of love and the act of sex in black and white terms in a way no human could ever match. The vast majority of Dominicans found sex an entirely abhorrent behavior, far more likely to corrupt than comfort. They had no respect for the loyalty the act could produce. Their business was celestials, and coitus among celestials almost always led to trouble. It was one of the most contentious points of friction between Judges and Creationists, and a major cog in the wheel of the animosity between the two.

Notwithstanding all that, the act had certainly put McGloin in a productive state. “Are you working on the farm today?” he asked. The “farm” was how McGloin referred to MOO. She in fact was, but didn’t have any appointments until the afternoon. As a result, she knew without him asking that McGloin would ask her to join him in the prep phase of the Geddys case. Working within the legal system provided an incredible view into humanity, and the Symphony. Intercessionists assigned to such duty on Earth almost always found it an incredibly rewarding experience. Of course, most were too wooden to really enjoy themselves.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 08:51:31 AM »
"Well, yes," Dinah replied, smiling wryly as she perched on the edge of the nearest chair that wasn't covered with boxes or file folders.  Like many celestials who spent a good deal of time among humans, she sometimes felt like a psychiatrist, or perhaps an anthropologist, eternally fascinated by the many ways in which inner emotion and attitude could have such dramatic outward effects, sometimes in the space of mere moments.  It was, perhaps, a somewhat distant fascination, but it had a very real pull for her nonetheless.

Whatever the reason, at least it looked like this would be a productive day, and she was looking forward to it.  That was one thing that even the most aloof celestial, which Dinah certainly was not, shared with the vast majority of mortals -- a sense of pride and contentment when one was able to look back on a job well done.  Humans might lack the feeling of being part of something much greater than themselves, something celestials basked in, but the underlying emotion was the same.

"I don't have any actual appointments until after lunch, though, so yes, I'm available to help you with all this."  She picked up the nearest sheaf of papers -- an intimidating stack of affadavits -- and looked through them absently.  "Where exactly are we on all this?  I heard that last expert witness you wanted finally agreed to testify for us."

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2010, 07:37:08 AM »
The Geddys case was a testament to the darker side of humanity. Richard Geddys was a guidance councilor at Brown City High School. He also taught health classes, and coached both the varsity and junior varsity girls’ basketball teams. He had been recognized by the state twice as Educator of the Year. He was young, attractive and single. He was dating Hannah Teasdale, daughter of Henry Teasdale, a corporate lawyer, and one of the richest men in town. The fact that his beautiful daughter, with his name, dated such a man as Geddys soured him to no end. Still, he loved his daughter, and was subservient to her wishes as an adult, and thus didn’t interfere in her affairs.

That was until Geddys had been exposed. Several parents came forward at once claiming that their daughters had been inappropriately touched deflowered by Geddys during a party he had held at his own apartment for some of the kids at the high school, including Jennifer Simmons, a daughter of David Simmons, the largest property owner in Brown County. The parties were nothing new, but the complaints certainly were, and the entire county was shocked and scandalized as the accusation. The massive stack of affidavits in Dinah’s hand included the statements to investigators of over 60 minors who had at one time attended one of Geddys’ parties.  The case threatened some major players in the community and local politics, including the Education Department and the Teacher’s Union. On the other side of the case was the monied and connected power of Simmons, Teasdale by proxy, and the other financial elite of the county. The case promised to be of the highest profile in McGloin’s thirteen year career, and he was passionate about winning it. He wanted Geddys and the Teacher’s Union protecting him exposed. The fact that Geddys was a state-recognized educator didn’t matter. He was facing a dozen different charges of sex offence. His career would be ruined, and he’d spend the next 20 years in prison.

“Dr. Childs. Yes,” McGloin reiterated in answering her question. “Several of the parents have put their kids into his therapy practice as a result of what happened.” Obtaining his agreement to testify had been extremely difficult due to the doctor-client privilege, and the Defense team would certainly try to block his testimony on such grounds. McGloin’s only real hope was that Childs was willing to testify voluntarily because the victims were minors, and thus not technically protected under the privilege, and that a judge would see it the same way.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2010, 11:30:17 AM »
Dinah hadn't yet met Geddys -- in the normal course of events, with a less complex and spectacular trial, she might not ever meet a particular defendant -- but she fully intended to soon.  All the evidence seemed to point straight to his guilt, but she wanted to be sure.  In that respect, she felt sorry for her mortal colleagues.  They were forced to rely on testimony and lab work, and except in unusual circumstances, they could not quite feel the same certainty of guilt or innocence that she could.  It seemed to her that the uncertainty must be maddening, but then, they would never have known any other way.

Certainly someone had traumatized these young people.  The pain in all these statements was palpable -- one didn't need any angelic insight to know they'd all experienced something awful -- and merely reading the plain printed words was almost too much to take.  Their testimony in court might tear the city apart -- and possibly also lead to Geddys himself being torn limb from limb.

"Well, for what it's worth, I think Dr. Childs really does want to testify," she mused, setting aside the stack of papers.  "The rest is down to the judge, as usual."  That was perhaps the worst part of the job -- arguing for all you were worth, then waiting anxiously for a ruling that might just as easily fall in the wrong direction.

"Is Geddys still planning on taking the stand?" she asked.  Most defense lawyers didn't like clients taking the stand, but here it was less of a gamble than it often was.  The man was attractive, intelligent, and well-spoken, and if he was also convincing enough, he might create some reasonable doubt all by himself.

At a glance, there would seem to be no contest between the word of one man and the sworn statements of so many victims; but she knew what could happen there.  Some students would be too afraid or ashamed to testify; others would be forbidden by their parents; others might become easily flustered on the stand and contradict themselves.  Some would be disbarred from testifying by various defense motions.  Of these 60+ stories, no more than a handful would ever be heard by the jury, most likely.  Those would have to be enough.

"These kids will be upset enough just with him in the same room.  I hate to think how they'll feel, listening to him call them liars or lunatics."  She sighed, settling back a little in the chair, trying to relax in spite of the tension of preparation for such a trial.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2010, 07:17:11 AM »
McGloin continued to converse with his assistant. As per the usual course, it would be her responsibility to have everything read, researched, and in order to assure McGloin could conduct a case as seamlessly as possible. In this task she had always been well-above par. It certainly helped that her mind was much sharper than the hugely vast majority of humans, and that she didn’t require sleep. Of course McGloin didn’t know that. In his mind she took a lot of work home with her, and didn’t go out much.

“I honestly don’t know,” he answered her question about Geddys testifying in his own defense. “You tell me,” he asked in a brainstorming way. “You’re Geddys’ attorney. You have a man who’s a pillar in the community, a teacher recognized for excellence. Do you take a chance hearing what he has to say about molesting children? He doesn’t have to testify in order for the jury to hear those things about him. If I’m his attorney, I want to hear from as few people as possible, and he knows we’re taking a chance with every one of the victims we call because minors are difficult witnesses, and their parents are protective.”

It only made things worse that the victims were so high profile, being children of the richest, most powerful members of the community. “I need you to help me decide on a witness list, and do some research on case law that will allow us to compel Childs to testify in the face of doctor-client privilege. On Friday we’re meeting with Geddys to try to negotiate a plea. It would be nice if we had some aces in the hole.” This meant interviewing potential witnesses on short notice based on their affidavits.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2010, 10:33:47 AM »
"I don't think I would ever be Geddys' attorney," Dinah replied, without thinking.  She knew he was only theorizing, but somehow the literal answer slipped out first, and she continued quickly.  "But if I had to be... I'd hold him in reserve.  Make sure he's prepped, maybe even make noises to the media about how anxious he is to clear his name and that he will likely be testifing -- people always think that's a sure sign of innocence, and public opinion will make a difference, no matter how sequestered the jury is.  But I'd hold off until the last minute to make the final decision."

She paused, shaping the case in her mind and throwing in a few educated guesses.  "I have a feeling that Geddys is very good at lying, and he'd probably do all right on the stand if he can keep his head.  If the prosecution is making a good case, then maybe Geddys under oath, swearing his innocence and looking pleadingly at the jury, will be just the reasonable doubt the defense needs.

"On the other hand, if the witnesses haven't done very well, then I'd never put him on the stand.  It would be too much of a risk to let the prosecution get the chance to cross-examine... and public opinion isn't that important," she added wryly.  "If he manages to be acquited, probably his first move will be getting out of town, anyway.  I wonder--" she added abruptly, a new thought striking her, and she paused again to sort through the idea.

"I wonder what Hannah Teasdale really thinks about all this.  I know she's making a big show of standing by him, but how much of that is real, and how much is just lingering loyalty?  Or maybe even more important, how much is the refusal to admit, even to herself, that she could have been so wrong about him?  She alibis him for some of the allegations.  She might be the weak link.  Well, if we could actually get to her, that is."

She sighed, realizing the odds of that happening.  "In any case, if her support means enough to Geddys, it's possible he'll try to insist on testifying.  It would be bound to impress her favorably, and Geddys will want to make sure she doesn't waver in her support.

"As for the rest, I've got a couple of promising options to sort through as far as case law.  Have you got anything for the witness list yet?"  She reached again for the stack of affadavits, preparing to sort through them with a purpose this time.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2010, 09:21:34 AM »
“Talk to her,” McGloin responded, referring to Hannah Teasdale. “Let’s see if we can get her side of the story before meeting with Geddys. As for the witness list, it’s still evolving, and I’d like to call as few children as possible. At minimum we’ve got Dr. Childs, Hannah Teasdale, Jennifer Simmons, and Marcia Bradbury. Depending on what we find in those affidavits, we might identify a few others. Both David Simmons and Henry Teasdale might serve as character witnesses. Geddys’ lawyer is a woman named Sarah Gerhardt; provided by the Teacher’s Union no doubt. I don’t think he could afford her on his own salary. Let’s check his other connections at the school, too. Teachers, principals, coaches, someone has to know something about these parties, if not the girls themselves.”

A mighty workload was developing, and it all had to be delayed due to her assignment at the Municipal Ordinance Office that afternoon. She would have to cram as many interviews as she could into the few days before Geddys’ plea negotiation. McGloin wanted a plea carrying no less than 20 years in prison against him. That meant finding some damning evidence that couldn’t be excluded by a judge. The judge assigned to the case was the Hon. Judge Samuel Schaffner, a man who had spent time on both sides of the courtroom, most recently as a defense attorney. He was in his fifties, and had spent four years on the bench, a negligible amount of time in the eyes of any Servitor of Dominic.

The afternoon at MOO would have been excruciatingly slow, tedious, and distracting to any human who was also working on the Geddys case. The court case was far more important than anything that ever happened at the MOO, and the vast majority of humans, faced with the choice of efforts, would have closed the office for the afternoon much to the chagrin of the tax-paying public. Another lawyer had worked the morning shift, but there were still a half dozen people in line when Dinah arrived for the afternoon shift.

The first were easy rubber stamp building permits to renovate and refurbish a few commercial buildings in Ashbury. A pair of very casually dressed men appeared in order to obtain a permit for excavating a parcel of county-owned land on the undeveloped north side of town. The land was essentially worthless: it had no services, no utilities, no infrastructure. It was essentially a vacant lot the county acquired when the water treatment plant was built in the early sixties. The plant had recently been privatized, and the new company didn’t want to be responsible for a useless piece of land, so the county retained it as part of the sales deal. At least this is what was written in the permit proposal. The proposal stated that a team led by the pair wished to excavate the site for research purposes. The two men were a professional archaeologist and his assistant, experts in native history and culture.

In person, the two men were certainly odd. One, the better dressed of the two, remained silent through the interview. He was the assistant, and he let the professional lead the interview. He wasn’t aloof or disengaged, so he wasn’t all that out of place, just silent. The archaeologist however was the classic liberal professor type. He was young with a tan face, as if he worked outside a lot, and he had a day’s growth of stubble on his face. His large eyes, light blue, contrasted exceptionally with his complexion, and he had dark wavy hair that grew past his shoulder blades. It hung loose and unbound around his face. He wore an off-white, hand-woven shirt that was popular in Middle Eastern countries for its breathability in desert heat. The top buttons of his shirt were opened, revealing a thick matt of hair growing on his chest.

But more than anything else about him that caught the eye was a ceramic charm he wore around his neck. It appeared to be a simple, roughly polished stone mounted on a gold chain. When Dinah gazed upon it, however, she could see it was an Ethereal Artifact: an object with the power to alter the user’s abilities within the Symphony. While she couldn’t ascertain the particular qualities of the piece, it revealed to her that the two men before her were almost certainly Celestials, and didn’t mind potentially revealing themselves as such to other Celestials they met. This was most likely a sign of coming in peace, but it could also just as easily be carelessness and stupidity, or even an arrogant brashness.

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2010, 11:32:13 AM »
Though she accomplished a good deal that morning, Dinah still felt more like Alice through the looking-glass -- running as fast as she could simply to stay in one place.  She scheduled a ridiculous number of appointments, arranged for a few new depositions, and spent every free moment she had looking through the affidavits, not even pretending to bother with lunch, until it was time to leave for the MOO office.  The mountain of work was no smaller, but she took what comfort she could in knowing that she had put in a mighty effort.

Even for her, it was strange to adjust to the work at MOO, after the desperate rush of the morning.  Sometimes even the best Servitor had to remind herself that everything was important, all part of the larger picture that Celestials had to attend to.  Still, it was not easy to forget the Geddys case entirely, and during the odd quiet moment, she let her thoughts drift back to it.  Given its importance, no possible angle must be overlooked, and it did no harm to consider it now and then.  One never knew when a spark of inspiration might strike.

The archaeologist and his assistant, however, neatly focused her attention to the business at hand, and she looked over their paperwork carefully.  They wouldn't be Servitors of Dominic, not with Roles such as these, and in any case she would likely have been informed of their work beforehand, if they were.  Former Servitors of Raphael, perhaps, still seeking new treasures of knowledge in her name?  If that was so, she would be glad to assist them.  Dominic sought Truth as well as Justice, and Dinah had always admired Raphael's tireless pursuit of knowledge -- not to mention her noble sacrifice to stop Legion.

She was hardly immune to curiosity, however -- the desire to know was vital to her work, in many ways -- and it was definitely odd to see any Celestials outside of her own group.  Finding them here, submitting a permit, was about the last place she would have expected such an encounter.  Since this was unusual, it was only right that she learn a little more -- and especially since Dominic might wish to know about this.  "That's a very interesting Artifact you have," she remarked, conversationally, testing the waters before diving in.  They didn't seem particularly concerned with their incognito, but there was no need to be indiscreet.  "How did you happen to come by it?"
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 05:21:23 PM by Valerian »

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 06:48:02 PM »
The two men sitting across the desk from Dinah did not appear surprised by her question. The archaeologist lifted his hands behind his neck, unclasped the chain, and brought the charm away from his body, placing it easily into Dinah’s waiting hand. Within her grasp, the object had an earthy warmth to it, though she wasn’t perceptive enough to discern its true function within the Symphony.
“It is a stone from an ancient burial site,” the man explained. “It has little useful power. It’s really nothing more than a charm.” The archaeologist’s heretofore silent companion cleared his throat at the remark. “It is bound to the tribe to which it belonged,” the archaeologist elaborated. “It acts as a beacon to the past, illuminating that to which it once belonged.” The silent companion nodded his assent.
Two names appeared on the application, a Professor Bradford Daugherty, and a co-applicant simply listed as Trystaniel. The second name seemed perfectly ordinary…for a Celestial.
“We believe the site my hold some impressive cultural finds,” the archaeologist continued. “As you can see, the proposal calls for a systematic excavation over a six month period. It’s really nothing more substantial than if the County developed the land itself and performed the requisite ground survey.”

It was clear the two were connected somehow. Were they business partners? More than business partners? The Artifact added another ripple. Why was it being worn out in the open? Something about the visitors make her Dominican senses twinge. They were a potentially dangerous pair, but hell, who isn’t?

Offline Valerian

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2011, 03:43:04 PM »
Dinah could not decide if their openness was reassuring or alarming.  If anyone else had handled the application, the second man's name would have caused a problem -- it would not only have attracted attention, but also would have created a fuss over the pointed lack of a surname.  Had they sought her out deliberately, to avoid that problem?  That would have been a tricky business -- first, her Role was no easy one to see through, and second, her schedule at the farm was far from regular.

Still, here they were, and she had a job to do -- or rather, two jobs.  She studied the charm a moment longer, remembering the look and feel of it in case that might be useful later, then handed it back to its owner.  "Well, the proposal seems in order," she said, turning her attention back to the paperwork.  She asked a few standard questions -- how many workers they intended to have, if they planned to use any large earthmoving equipment -- and noted the answers, all the while pondering the situation in terms of her more celestial responsibilities.

"Do you teach in the area, Professor?" she finally asked, that being the least intrusive way she could think of to learn something of the depths of his Role.  "And are you hoping to find more relics from the same tribe that once had that charm?"  She nodded at the object, keeping her tone light.  Most likely there was no cause for alarm, but she would certainly have to find out more.

Offline Lord MayerlingTopic starter

Re: In Nomine: Meatus Arbiterium (Valerian & LM)
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 07:00:50 AM »
“Do you teach in the area, professor?” she asked.

He didn’t like to receive this question, especially in front of his companion, but it was logical enough, and easy to answer. “No, not really,” he answered plainly. “I do a lot of field research, study, that sort of thing. I’ve been…loosely attached to around a dozen academic institutions around the world, all within the realm of research and discovery. I don’t really have the time for lecturing. I like to be out in the world getting my hands dirty in the soil, looking into the past, that sort of thing.”

The professor’s quiet companion, Trystaniel, did not seem to have a problem with this answer. Trystaniel, yes, that’s what most people called him, was an angel through and through. He didn’t have a halo or pearlescent wings or anything, but his Heavenly origin was quite obvious to Dinah’s divine eye. He also had a bit of a superiority complex. He was clearly the dominant member of the partnership, but also the silent type. Dinah could also sense that it was a struggle for him to be the silent type. His primary interest was archeological discovery. It would be easy to make the leap that this particular adventure had been his idea. The professor respected him, even considered him a friend, but they kept a professional distance. The professor was also willing to allow the other to be the dominant partner. 

“Are you hoping to find more relics from the same tribe that once had that charm?” she asked.

“That is the general idea,” the professor responded. “It is really the crux of these projects. You don’t really know what you’re going to find until you’re out there digging it up. There is much to learn about these people, their culture. It is not one well-recorded by history, and we’d like to change that, even just a little bit at a time.” He paused a moment, then continued, “Is the application in order then? We can commence the project immediately?”