The Praetorians, a fantasy cop drama. (Game thread Started/CLOSED Prologue)

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"My name's Sameera Draven, by the way. You can call me Sam."

She said something or other, a response to his mindless musing as Marc grabbed his cup again, intent to give it a try now. She bowed again as he took a sip. He really didn't like the bowing, it made it seem like he was superior to her in some way. He put the cup back down as he addressed her again.

"I'm Marcus Lloyd, please just call me Marc. I'm not really worth any honorifics."

"They don't seem to trust us, do they? Not that it really surprises me..."

"Well, I'm quiet and you brought a sword. Give us a week, and we'll earn it. Whether they like it or not." Marc said innocently, flashing a smile at his companion.

"I don't think a mere mortal is supposed to drink more than one cup of that 'coffee', I'll just stick with the sandwiches in future, much safer option if you ask me. Have you tried any of them Mr...?"

"Aye, I have; lovely bits of cheese in 'em. Suspect they're okay, little sandwiches never did anyone in, to my knowledge," Rory gave both men a polite little nod as the large man introduced himself and both fished about for his name. They'd given theirs freely enough, it'd be rude to hold back his own, even amongst such mixed company. To be entirely honest, Rory was a bit impressed by the rather cordial nature sprung from these two in particular. The little one was a human, though he neither trembled in the presence of monsters or scorned them, and the big one... a warg for sure, but not one Rory was familiar with. Jason Hunt... no... Rory knew of no Hunt Clan in the city, probably cityborn then, there wasn't much accent in his voice. A small pity for the big fellow found a little nook in Rory's chest. To grow up in a place that calls you monster, far from any woods, far from any land that would call you son, Rory couldn't imagine a bleaker fate.

"Ha, I'm not your 'mister,' mate. Just Rory, Rory Red, color coded for your convenience," Rory chuckled and tapped his head, "And as for past work...?"

Rory paused for a moment and offered a little shrug, "Well... I got by. Suppose I'm a copper now! Aren't we all? Ready and able to beat on things in the name of truth, justice, and suchlike...."

From his isolated seat, Archibald could only manage to catch snippets of the others' conversation. Not intentionally, mind you; he would never eavesdrop on this ilk on purpose. It was only due to their boorish, annoyingly cheerfully volume that he was able to pick up anything they said.

Still. At least some of it made for good entertainment.

"They don't seem to trust us, do they? Not that it really surprises me..."

The girl seemed to know her place in the grand scheme of things. Or at least she knew how others would place her in said scheme. Archibald may not have had any desire to work with any of the beasts, but if he had to, then he would at least prefer to work alongside those who recognized how the world worked. It would make things quite easier.

The other, Dark Kin, on the other hand...

"Well, I'm quiet and you brought a sword. Give us a week, and we'll earn it. Whether they like it or not."

"Heh."

Archibald found himself unable to repress a deriding chuckle at the Kin's remark. To be fair, it wasn't like he was trying very hard to do so. Did the foolish thing honestly believe that it or any of its ilk would ever manage to earn respect? Please, this organization was a token movement, a pointless entity that only sought to soothe a few of the public's growing concerns, a placebo. The very idea that these creatures would be allowed to hold something even resembling authority... Ridiculous.

Smirking to himself, Archibald made no effort to hide his expression.

Mabel came out of her office, documents under her arm and ushered the recruits into a room off in the back of the building. They'd set it up like a makeshift conference room, complete with large table. After a brief introduction, as Captain Ackerman, she went straight into the seminar on the proper handling of iron and silver cuffs for the non-human officers and distributed a collection of gloves. They even practised a little on the human officers.

After that, and a brief talk on proper conduct while on duty, Mabel lead them on a walking tour of the precinct. They had already seen the main hall that was serving as the main working area/lobby. Along with that they passed the rooms that had been converted into cells, the most solid part of the building. They skipped over the break room on the second floor (It had a couch and an okay view) ending on the armoury and the meagre collection of firearms and batons that were available to them. Each recruit was given their service revolver, signing it out on the weapon ledger.

Once that was all over they went back up to the main hall and Novak was made to set up a map of Old Town that had been cut into 4 different coloured pieces.

"Time to sort your patrol groups. Most of you will be on foot for this, it's important to make ourselves known to the populace." Mabel stated flatly, the fatigue of the day showing a little.

She pointed to the north slice of Oldtown. "Rat, Ampere and Shaere. Your patch is up North. This parts more residential and it's got the largest human populace in Oldtown. Family neighbourhoods mostly, shouldn't be too tough for you."

Then came the west-side bordering Redfields. "This one's for Hunt, Hemingr and Lloyd. Talin Town. Keep on your toes here, we've had multiple reports of gang related activity in the past few months. Two talin gangs, The Pride and The Dawn Claws, have been duking it out recently and there's rumours that a Dark Kin group are trying to muscle in."

That just left the rest of Oldtown and Novak apparently saw fit to take over. "Draven, Red, Vandar and Vasir are with me." He growled. "We're in the car and covering a larger area, now officially it only sits 4 so someone's going to have to squeeze in the middle in the back seat."

"I'll be here at headquarters if you have any need of me." Mabel added. "Just find a phone booth or whatever phone comes to hand." She'd given them the office number during orientation.

Things were finally finished dusk was just beginning to cover the city in its faded light. The recruits were left to head out on their first day of active duty.

*****

Novak left for the beaten up old car and waited for his team to pile in. He didn't care which one drew the short straw in the seating arrangement. He just turned the keys and the old wagon grumbled to life as they set off on their patrol. He drove on in silence for a while, leaving them to it before raising the elephant in the car and glancing at the silver sword at one recruit's hip. Thank god Mabel didn't kick up a fuss about that one.

"Does anyone else have any non regulation equipment on their person? I'm not gunna be angry but I will be very disappointed if you try and hide it from me."

Sameera paid close attention to the briefing and was directly behind Novak as he went for the car. She wore additional gloves, a police cap and popped the collar of her jacket, in order to protect herself from the sun. She got lucky and got the front seat. Her first ride in one of these cars! As if her first day on the job wasn't exciting enough.
She had difficulties getting in the car with her height and the rapier, so she banged her head multiple times swearing every time.
After she finally got on the car, she was quiet most of the time, curiously watching Novak as he drove.
Some time later, Sameera noticed his glance on her sword.

"Does anyone else have any non regulation equipment on their person? I'm not gunna be angry but I will be very disappointed if you try and hide it from me."

"Nothing besides the rapier...erm... I guess...uhm... Sir."

Non regulation equipment? She didn't even knew that that could make problems.

"Pleased to meet you Rory." Jason returned. The man seemed easy-going enough. Perhaps Jason's first instincts had been wrong. For a warg, Jason was not very in touch with his wild side, while Rory on the other hand gave off an aura of being more comfortable in his own skin that Jason could ever be, and something about that rankled... was he jealous?

"Heh."

It was that human again. The one he'd passed be before. Jason knew he shouldn't rise, that would be a very bad idea indeed, but despite his best efforts a muscle twitched at the corner of his eye, and he wheeled round to give him a look that plainly said 'Got something to say, pal?'

Thankfully, the start of actual proceedings prevented the threat of escalation.

Some time later...

"This one's for Hunt, Hemingr and Lloyd. Talin Town. Keep on your toes here, we've had multiple reports of gang related activity in the past few months. Two talin gangs, The Pride and The Dawn Claws, have been duking it out recently and there's rumours that a Dark Kin group are trying to muscle in."

"Got it, sir." Jason replied, a determined expression on his face. It was a part of town he knew at least, and some people there knew him. It might help, but Jason just hoped there wouldn't be any trouble."

"Isn't this what city police stations are like?" He asked Mr. Red, finally.

The Shifter found himself blending into the crowd by the refreshments. Chris just decided to watch the assembled characters, making note of their quirks and their names. No doubt he would probably forget them later with all the hubbub. He listened carefully to Ms. Ackerman and heard the news. Alas! It wasn't an undercover assignment, but gang trouble. He could possibly go undercover but... Well, his little secret was bound to get sometime. However, he didn't want people to tell people to tell people that the Hemingrs were a bunch of lying, untrustworthy Shedders. Then again, things could turn out differently.

"Ah, forget that," He said with a cheesy smile to Red as he walked away, "It's a shame, but I've been placed in a different squad."

Mordecai perked his ears up at the sound of their senior officer coming in with a stack of files, and followed the other new recruits as they headed into a makeshift conference room. He payed attention at the briefing which Captain Ackerman gave, noted down all the protocol details and how to use handcuffs in the second notebook he carried.

Afterwards, they went on a walking tour of their facility, if one could call it that; Mordecai hoped that as the new Praetorians grew in reputation, they might receive some additional funding to allow some upgrades, making the place look more professional, perhaps even a room where he might put his medical skills to use. They soon arrived back at the main conference room, where a map of Old Town was divided into four separate pieces, each marked with a different colour.

"Time to sort your patrol groups. Most of you will be on foot for this, it's important to make ourselves known to the populace." Captain Ackerman said in a rather tired and flat tone, signs of fatigue settling in. The groups and their patrols were assigned one by one, until there was a handful of recruits left, Mordecai included. It was at this point that Sergeant Novak spoke up.

"Draven, Red, Vandar and Vasir are with me." He growled. "We're in the car and covering a larger area, now officially it only sits 4 so someone's going to have to squeeze in the middle in the back seat." A short while later, Novak and his team piled into the slightly beaten up squad car, Mordecai was fortunate enough to be sitting in the rear passenger seat, behind the Dark Kin who went up front with Novak.

For a while as the car pulled away there was silence, but eventually, Novak noticed the silver rapier that the Dark Kin was carrying.

"Does anyone else have any non regulation equipment on their person? I'm not gunna be angry but I will be very disappointed if you try and hide it from me."

"Apart from a couple of hand written medical notebooks which I carry with me at most times of the day sir, there shouldn't be anything else that is out of place." Mordecai said as he looked out of the window, as the streets slowly grew darker with the fading light.

'Of course it was a human...'

Marc paid little attention to the tour, he preferred to go over himself more extensively. Basic layout was handy, though. Seeing someone get cuffed was mostly a game of staying way the hell away from the iron set. He knew what happened when he touched iron.

He took his weapon when prompted, and found he could barely tear his attention away from the thing. He'd never actually held one before, it was heavy and he kept his finger away from the trigger. He wasn't afraid to admit he was frightened of the thing, though he knew he'd have to use it. He fell in when they were told their posts.

"Time to sort your patrol groups. Most of you will be on foot for this, it's important to make ourselves known to the populace."

'Job seems stressful.' He noted, paying attention to her voice and other such things. This was to be his CO, then. Could've been worse, and it was good to see humans at least treated women better than they treated other races. Progressive in some ways...

"This one's for Hunt, Hemingr and Lloyd. Talin Town. Keep on your toes here, we've had multiple reports of gang related activity in the past few months. Two talin gangs, The Pride and The Dawn Claws, have been duking it out recently and there's rumors that a Dark Kin group are trying to muscle in."

"... I'm glad we were chosen for the most dangerous sounding one." He murmured to himself, hoping no one else would notice. He didn't really want to be heard complaining already, but seriously first day was gang warfare. Fun for some, but he hoped at least one of the two others was a really good fighter.

"Got it, sir."

"We're on the same team, then. Good evening sir, shall we get going?"

The small talk bled away as the main event drew near, the head lady finally gracing the new recruits with her presence. Quick eyes sized the woman up, probing for weaknesses and deficiencies. This Ackerman held herself well enough, that much was certain, even if she seemed to lack a basic sort of warmth. Perhaps certain things had to be sacrificed to stay at the top of this particular lot. Interesting and certainly something worthy of further study, this Captain Ackerman would make a suitable Alpha for the present, there'd be time later to test her merit.

Rory nodded along with the seminar, only interested in brief, fleeting snatches. He noted the make of the cuffs, satisfied that he knew how to slip them, and the tour of the precinct was appreciated; it gave a grand opportunity to catalog the structure's entrances and exits without arousing undue suspicion, though he suspected at least a few hidden doors or tucked away rooms remained in this place. Those could wait though, it seemed the captain expected an afternoon patrol. Rory found himself lumped in with the blustery sergeant and the dear little friend, along with two others, both Kin. They'd be in a... in a patrol car. Rory fidgeted slightly at that news. He didn't find the prospect of be stuffed into a small metal box and putting his life in Novak's hands all that appealing. Meh, at least half of the area they were supposed to monitor, the southern portion of Old Town bordering Harvest Hill, was definite Red turf. Rory didn't foresee too many problems.

The car was... cozy.. to say the least. Rory volunteered for the dreaded middle back seat position, though he managed to make himself comfortable enough, stretching his arms back behind the headrests of his fellow backseat passengers and very nearly managing to lounge. He perked up at Novak's question, the slight simper that seemed to make permanent residence on his face growing into a toothier sort of grin, "Well I'd certainly hate to disappoint, now let's see if I recall academy terminology... 1 steel blade, trench-class, 1 silver blade, dagger-class, 1 small iron blade, classified boot knife, and a hip flask with somethin' warm in it."

The list of contraband rolled off of Rory's tongue with a brazen sort of ease. Nothing too aggressive lingered in his voice; he wasn't out to be purposefully belligerent, but likewise, nothing in his voice so much as hinted at a willingness to part with any such non-regulation equipment.

Cali listened to the Captain's lecture, taking in all she could.

"Rat, Ampere and Shaere. Your patch is up North. This parts more residential and it's got the largest human populace in Oldtown. Family neighbourhoods mostly, shouldn't be too tough for you."

Nodding, she headed off, sneaking furtive glances at her partners.

"We're on the same team, then. Good evening sir, shall we get going?"

It was the slouching Dark Kin, Lloyd, who was addressing him. He didn't look too old, though with Dark Kin that wasn't exactly hard evidence. The guy didn't look like much on the muscle side of things, if truth be told, but Jason supposed that, if it came to it, he himself had that area covered, although he'd reather avoid it. The real question was, what else did this one have to bring to the table? Jason had heard a tale or two about the closely guarded abilities of the Dark Kin, he just didn't know how much to believe. Stories have a tendency to exaggerate, he knew. However, if Jason could turn himself 2 tonnes of solid violence at a whim, then why shouldn't the Dark Kin be able to control minds?

"Guess so." Jason replied. Guarded, but not haughty. "Gotta all get together first. Hey!" he shouted across the room. "Hey, Hemingr. Get over here."

Draven, Red, Vandar and Vasir are with me." He growled. "We're in the car and covering a larger area, now officially it only sits 4 so someone's going to have to squeeze in the middle in the back seat."

Collin knew he had lucked out the moment he was assigned as part of the patrol car squad, important officers always got the squad car right? He already knew Red was someone important, Draven and Vasir were new to him however but he was sure he'd figure them out soon enough. Draven was supposedly carrying some sort of sword, Collin couldn't see that well from where he was squashed in back, and Red listed a whole string of non-regulation weapons. This was troubling, was Collin the only one who hadn't bothered to smuggle other equipment with him? Red was looking more like a Rebel With A Cause than a Mentor at the moment.

"I like knives," blurted out Collin, "I've got dozens back at home, just didn't know I had to bring them." There, that ought to cover him. "Vandar by the way," he realised he should probably make sure the others knew his name, "Collin Vandar, nice to meet all of you. I'd shake your hands but being in a car might make the whole process a bit awkward you know? Unless any of you are trained contortionists that is."

"Rat, Ampere and Shaere. Your patch is up North. This parts more residential and it's got the largest human populace in Oldtown. Family neighbourhoods mostly, shouldn't be too tough for you."

Not too bad, he thought. A pipsqueak and a snob, but at least it didn't involve Dark Kin. Besides, it was the easiest route, and it's not as if he was in this to be a hero. He circled the room, sticking the wall, and headed down to the outside of the front of the building to wait for the other two. He watched the sky, considering shifting and taking off without them, before deciding against it. Ackerman might decide he was better to her in jail, and he certainly didn't want that.

"Apart from a couple of hand written medical notebooks which I carry with me at most times of the day sir, there shouldn't be anything else that is out of place."

Sameera turned around in her seat as good as possible and eyed the green haired talin curiously. How did her father call them? The dark kins' lost siblings... She would certainly want to know more about them. Despite living near the talin community in Old Town, she never had to deal with any of them.

"Well I'd certainly hate to disappoint, now let's see if I recall academy terminology... 1 steel blade, trench-class, 1 silver blade, dagger-class, 1 small iron blade, classified boot knife, and a hip flask with somethin' warm in it."

Sameera managed to free her eyes from the talin, turned around furher and looked at the redhead, her black eyes examinig him from head to toe. She could feel something animalistic in his presence, but wasn't really able to point her finger on it. Something just felt weird about him.

"I like knives. I've got dozens back at home, just didn't know I had to bring them. Vandar by the way, Collin Vandar, nice to meet all of you. I'd shake your hands but being in a car might make the whole process a bit awkward you know? Unless any of you are trained contortionists that is."

Obviously the human sitting behind her spoke. As she wasn't able to turn that much - well, at least not without breaking her spine - she got into a normal position again and tried to get a glimpse of him in one of the car's mirrors. He seemed somewhat overeager. After his introduction she felt, that she needed to introduce herself too.
"Sameera Draven. If that's too long for you, you can call me Sam."

"Hey, Hemingr. Get over here."

'I was just about to.' He sighed. And so he joined the scowling hump of muscle and the Dark Kin. Chris couldn't help but think of the problem of telling them that he wasn't human. An amusing thought popped into his head, maybe he would see how they treated him if they went with their assumptions. It was just be like one of the pranks him and his twin pulled. Now that brought a wave of nostalgia. Well, he was already getting a reputation for spacing out, if the scowling man was anything to go by.

"Yes, sir." He replied and pulled himself away from the cheese sandwiches.

"Sameera Draven. If that's too long for you, you can call me Sam."

Ah Draven, she was the only carrying a sword so she must also be important, but which name was he supposed to refer to her by? It sounded like a test to see whether he was formal sort or an informal sort. He wasn't sure if he wanted to be either of those yet, best to try a third option, think outside of the square you know?

"Sameera Draven? That's a that's a good name for a copper, sounds impressive if you ask me." You could always tell how important someone was by how impressive their name was, it was an important thing to know. "Would you mind terribly if I call you Draven instead? I'm in the habit of referring to people by their last names." He already knew Red from earlier, the wise rebel who had warned him about the coffee and made a cryptic reference to cheese killing people, the driver was the man called Novak so if Collin's memory wasn't faulty the only remaining person must be Vasir. He glanced over at the man and offered a smile.

"You'll be Vasir then? Medic of some sort?" There was always a Doctor, whether he was the good doc or the bad doc remained to be seen.

"Sameera Draven. If that's too long for you, you can call me Sam." The female Dark Kin said, finally giving Mordecai a name to associate with a face.

"A pleasure to meet you Miss Draven, you know I don't think I've ever actually encountered a Dark Kin before; though, if what they say is true, then both the Bright Kin and the Dark Kin are related somewhat. A theory I might suggest is that our ancestors must have had differences in opinion on deciding how the Kin species should evolve, creating two distinct lineages. I'll be certain to note this down later." Mordecai said with a look of curiosity and intrigue, though that might have been hard to tell given his goggles.

"You'll be Vasir then? Medic of some sort?" The short human asked, who Mordecai recognised as one of the people that went after the sandwiches that were on display; he didn't have any himself did Mordecai, as he had eaten before arriving at the precinct.

"That I am, been learning the ins and outs of medicine for roughly half my lifetime; though given that I am a non-human, I wouldn't be recognised as a doctor, at least in any official capacity. Mordecai be my first name for those of you who are curious."

"Rat, Ampere and Shaere. Your patch is up North. This parts more residential and it's got the largest human populace in Oldtown. Family neighbourhoods mostly, shouldn't be too tough for you."

"Tch." Adjusting his spectacles imperceptibly, Archibald gave Novak a quick nod of assent. A part of him wanted to correct the Sergeant on the pronunciation of his surname, but perhaps that was not the best course of action to take on the first day on the job. There would be plenty of time for discussions of that nature in the future.

There wasn't much of a point in wasting time, so the man made his through the precinct building and back outside. His leather shoes clicked against the floor, and eventually the pavement, as he walked along briskly, and the unfamiliar weights of his revolver and baton settled uncomfortably in his chest holster (worn beneath his uniform's jacket, of course) and belt, respectively. Archibald didn't let the weapons slow him down, however.

A quick glance around made it apparent that he was the last of his squad to make it outside. The Warg and the Kin were already standing about; apparently they could move quite quickly when they saw the need to.

"Hmmmph. Alright, come along then," Archibald intoned, snapping his fingers first at the mousy looking one, then at the Talin. "Let's be off."

Not bothering to wait for a response, the man began to pace towards Oldtown, his paces measured and precise, his posture perfectly straight. The other two could either follow or stay behind; he didn't particularly care one way or the other.

Rat shot the human a glare behind his back, then jogged to catch up, looking back quickly to see if the last of their trio was coming. He considered making a comment at the irony of him leading the way, being the last to arrive, but decided against it. His voice and pronunciation might trip him up and embarrass him, so instead said nothing.

He fiddled with the holster and eyed his gun warily. It didn't look like silver, but one could never be too careful. Thankfully, the gloves he had been given were of surprisingly high quality. It was strange that a human would care enough about their aversion to it enough to supply them with something like this. He couldn't help but smile a little, despite himself.

Checking once more to see that the third member of their group had caught up with them, he rolled his eyes and shot her a smile, gesturing at Archibald.

"Hmmmph. Alright, come along then, let's be off."

Cali's eyes narrowed slightly as she glared at the snobbish-looking man. Their other partner, who looked a lot less organized, gave her a friendly smile and she found herself relaxing slightly.

At least they're not all stuck-up...

"Guess so. Gotta all get together first. Hey! Hey, Hemingr. Get over here."[/b]

Marc cringed a bit from the yelling, and looked at the... man(?). Seemed a human, could've been a shifter. Marc was beginning to see that they were common, and that there were no faye around. Odd, but Marc was just glad he himself got the job. He was content to let the bestial giant lead for now, but Marc knew he was stronger than he looked. A gift of his heritage, but he was not above abusing those maliciously.

"Right, we should get going then. I'm not too familiar with the area."

Novak, Colin, Sam, Mordecai Rory turned the names over in his mind a couple times, tied them to the appropriate scents, and added them to the rest of his growing collection of mental dossiers. These people were more open than he'd suspected, somewhat more trusting. Rory hadn't seen humans and non-humans behaving so cordially with one another since Father called the last Conference. There was more hope for this city than most cared to spare.

"My, my, a pleasure to have a man of genuine talent amongst us, let me thank you in advance for any patching up I may require," Rory gave the bespectacled Talin a little pat and a kindly wink. Healing was kin to magic within most Warg communities that still cleaved to the old ways, the province of one particularly talented Seer. Of his siblings, Rose did the proper mending, though Rory provided most of the herbs she required. The difference in skill was a substantial one though. If Rose brewed you a tea, it'd take whatever ailed you out behind the woodshed and shoot it. But if Rory brewed you a tea, well... at least you'd probably survive it relatively intact. Respect for a healer was well earned, Rory only wished they were more common.

"If introductions are the sport of the day, well then... Rory Red, as apt a moniker as any. Red-headed, red-blooded, but never caught red-handed, I pray our time 'round the Circle is a pleasant one," At the moment, Rory could think of no truer wish. These people seemed a decent enough lot, and although he found the notion of 'civil rights' rather quaint, there was a certain nobility to it all. Though, honestly, why should a warg have rights equal to a human? Humans and wargs were not equals. Humans were, at the end of the day, prey. Did a deer hold council with a wolf? A certain respect exists between predator and prey, but at no time is either deluded concerning his place in the chain. Yet, truth be told, things were changing, even amongst the wolves, opinions had begun to shift, a few of Rory's own siblings keeping particularly close to Kalah and finding something... worthwhile in her ideals. Rory reserved judgment for now, he was never particularly interested in politics, he was interested in getting things done, and that typically meant subverting the established conventions of society to one degree or another. Though, speaking of established authority....

"Question: Is there any particular reason we left our poor Captain all alone at headquarters? The one place where someone might actively go lookin' for Praetorian aid? It's not that I don't enjoy these... cozy accommodations, I just worry about our effectiveness, is all. It'd be a particularly slow or a peculiarly polite crook who'd give us the opportunity to untangle ourselves back here, hop out the vehicle and give chase. And while I can't speak to Mr. Vasir's combat skills, I'm nae fond of puttin' the one fellow good at takin' bullets out of a body, into the path of unfriendly fire. Just a thought, really...."

"Right, we should get going then. I'm not too familiar with the area."

"Lucky for you, I am." Jason replied as Hemingr came over to join them. A part of him was worried he was being too blunt, but on the other hand, there was a job to do, and Jason saw little point in wasting time. Lloyd and Hemingr seemed to have already presumed on Jason being the team leader, a position that he wasn't quite sure he was qualified for. It was his first day on the job and he didn't outrank them (he wondered whether anyone besides the Captain and the Sergeant were even going to get ranks). Still, if they both felt more comfortable following the big guy, then Jason was just going to have to rise to the challenge.

"You guys both ready?" he asked.

"That I am, been learning the ins and outs of medicine for roughly half my lifetime; though given that I am a non-human, I wouldn't be recognised as a doctor, at least in any official capacity. Mordecai be my first name for those of you who are curious."

"I wouldn't worry about that," Collin waved his hand dismissively, narrowly avoiding striking Red, "I've known plenty of decent sawbones who weren't legally recognised as doctors and it never seemed to bother them much." Admittedly a great many of them were also scam artists posing as doctors but it seemed best not the mention that. "When I'm dying in the gutter I couldn't care less whether the one helping me has a fancy certificate or not, as long as they know their stuff." Not that Collin had ever much need of doctors, even if some of the film crews were pretty casual about Health and Safety they knew better than to let Collin fool around with anything overly technical.

"Question: Is there any particular reason we left our poor Captain all alone at headquarters? The one place where someone might actively go lookin' for Praetorian aid? It's not that I don't enjoy these... cozy accommodations, I just worry about our effectiveness, is all. It'd be a particularly slow or a peculiarly polite crook who'd give us the opportunity to untangle ourselves back here, hop out the vehicle and give chase."

"Should be fine," replied Collin, "no one will be looking for Praetorian aid just yet, locals might not even believe we exist yet until they spot us. I mean, most people probably think that a human, non-human mixed unit would tear each other apart in five minutes." The humans were unlikely to be doing any of the tearing themselves but you get the point. "As for the car situation, we don't all need to get out. Draven could probably get out quickly enough and give chase while Sergeant Novak brings the car around to cut the crook off."

"As for the car situation, we don't all need to get out. Draven could probably get out quickly enough and give chase while Sergeant Novak brings the car around to cut the crook off."

Sameera didn't think, that that was a good idea, considering that all criminals she had to deal with up until now were half-dead after she was done with them. She kept silent, because she didn't want to worry them. Besides, Novak probably already knew that. He and Mabel most likely had a police file about her and her .... mistakes.

Eventually Sameera got bored. Watching Novak drive wasn't as exciting as it was at the beginning of the patrol, and the area wasn't exactly nice to look at. As she couldn't draw her sword and polish it in the car for obvious reasons, she only had one choice left: Continue the conversation.

She turned around to face the talin.

"I can give you a blood sample later for research, if you want, Mordecai."

She turned around again, into a normal position.

"So... what were you all doing before joining the Praetorians? Four years ago, I arrived in Rosenheim, working at a factory in Redfields until two years ago when.... things happened and I got fired becaus of those... things. Since then, I've been working as a private investigator until a few weeks ago when things... happened again. That was, when I first heard of the Praetorians and thought: 'Hey! That sounds like a good idea!'. Well, the rest's obvious: I applied, got accepted, recieved a short training and am here now."

She didn't want to tell them too much. For example that she was a sentenced murderer in the dark kin community. They didn't need to know that.

The team of Rat, Archie and Cali eventually found themselves on a street that was the closest thing to suburban you could find in Oldtown. Which is to say that it was clustered with terrace housing instead of tenement buildings.

It was still fairly quiet with most residence either still being at work or having gone home for the evening. The only things that stood out was a news stand in the middle of closing up, the only headline board left up read: Strange storms seen over Gravengrad. Gravengrad being a city state to the north of Rosenheim.

Further down the street, a group of children looked on as two women bicker loud enough to earn themselves a few looks. The older of the two, a woman somewhere in her eighties, didn't seem too invested in, she was too busy putting up missing posters, giving the description of a cat.

*****

Jason, Chris and Marc on the other hand were deep in the grim. Their patrol had taken them into a neighbourhood where drunken shouting, crying children and the sounds of something - or someone - breaking were the natural sounds of the world. This was a slum world.

The was mostly covered by pale grey clouds by now, offering the dark kin a small respite from direct sunlight. Though it couldn't protect them from the dirty looks they were getting from a trio of young talin who were sat on the porch of one of the countless identical terrace houses across the street.

The tense stare off was only broken when both parties were rudely shocked into the present again as a lamp crashed through the inside of a window behind the praetorians and smashed to pieces on the street. Loud shouts and frantic arguing could be heard coming through the gaping hole it had left in the glass.

*****

Looks like we got a bad ass here. Novak thought to himself as Red rambled off a paranoid gangmember's wishlist. This one might be trouble. The others seemed workable enough. The sword could still cause issues but Draven seemed reasonable so far. And they could be the only unit on the force with their own first responder thanks to Vasir. Wait until Mabel sinks her teeth into him.

He kept his focus on the road for now, letting the others chatter away. It was as they turned into a narrow, one way street. Currently blocked by a parked black car with tinted windows. There was a pale looking man in a suit, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses leaning against it smoking a cigarette. He seemed to be in a world of his own.

"What is this idiot doing?" Novak grumbled, pressing down on the horn.

The car's owner looked up, startled and upon seeing the police car quickly hurried into the driver seat of his own vehicle. Just as he did so the muffled sound of gunshots rang out and a nearby restaurant's front door burst open, flooding the street with the sound of screaming as a dark figure sprinted towards the car and threw themselves into the back seat as the vehicle roared to life and made a break for the hills.

"Vasir, Red! Get in there and check the scene, We'll go in pursuit!" Novak barked. Once the two had scrambled out of the car he floored the pedal and the wheels of the car screeched in protest while the siren joined in on all the noise. He quickly caught up with the getaway vehicle but the driver was doing their best to snake in and out of traffic, putting obstacles in their way. "Try and take the wheels out! Mind for civilians." He ordered Draven and Vandar.

Back at the restaurant Rory and Mordecai were greeted by a scene of chaos as patrons cowered under tables or ran about the place screaming. The restaurant was actually a fairly small establishment, little more than a very large room. Towards the back lay a seemingly human looking man in a scruffy suit with four bullet holes in his chest, a thin trail of smoke trailing from each one. The victim was writhing in pain and making some animal like gurgling noises as he coughed up blood but remained spread out on his back as if a great weight was keeping him down. Those close enough could even hear a loud sizzling noise coming from the bullet holes.

Behind him was the door to a back room, left slightly ajar among all the confusion.

As Jason had suspected, he'd seen more than a few familiar faces over the course of his patrol so far, and the reactions had been mixed to say the least. Cops were not much loved in this part of town, Jason knew all too well. He had hoped that more people would think better of the uniform for the person in it, rather than worse for the person thanks to his colours. In this, Jason had not been entirely naive. An old childhood friend, whom Jason had played with on these very streets, smiled at him from a street corner as the trio passed, and the rest of the group he was hanging out with smiled too, once they realised Jason was being acknowledged as a friend. A colleague, who had often worked next to Jason on the assembly lines in Redfields, had nodded and muttered an amiable greeting as the passed in opposite directions. A greeting which Jason returned. Even a young Talin boy no older than eleven, who Jason dimly remembered as a cousin of one of his old buddies, had come right up to them and greeted all three enthusiastically. The boy had walked with them for a ways, threatening to talk their ears off one by one, until Jason had disentangled the Talin from under their feet as graciously as he could manage.

However, for every one old face that took him for a friend, there were many who scowled, spitting on the cobbles as they passed, or else refused to meet Jason's eyes altogether, preferring to shrink away into alleys and doorways as he approached.

'Is that hatred in their eyes, or fear?' he thought glumly. 'Perhaps a bit of both.'

Growing up in these slums, Jason had learned at an early age that, as much as many like to act tough, few people, even the meanest, brawniest, and dumbest, rarely ever spoil for a fight. They might choose violence frequently, over having their few valuables, or their pride, stolen from them, but more often the glares, the cracked knuckles and the muttered curses were just a front. Fighting was always a risk for both parties involved, and few were ever keen to go toe-to-toe with someone they couldn't easily beat. Once Jason had learned that lesson, it hadn't been difficult for him to disperse most threats with nothing more than a fierce look, before things could get ugly.

He used that look now to it's fullest extent, on the three Talin punks who were eyeballing Jason and his partners from across the street. This trio looked like a mean bunch, to be sure, but none moved to intercept them when Jason turned his gaze toward them. His revolver was at his right hip, his baton on his left, and neither of those was his surest weapon. Neither side moved, or dropped their eyes. They were sizing each-other up.

'Go on.' Jason urged, hoping his own thoughts would somehow bore into their skulls. 'Get up of that step and try something. I dare you...'

The moment was shattered in a cascade of broken glass and porcelain, as the lamp crashed though the upstairs window behind them, and exploded on the street not three feet from Jason's feet. Sharp shards were all around them, and Jason put his arm up to protect his eyes. The Talin across the street saw sense and slunk off, obviously not wanting to get involved in whatever was about to go down.

"Sounds like a domestic disturbance..." Jason announced, listening to the shouting coming from the broken window, trying to make out words. "but it could be a robbery. You two go get the front door. I'll climb the fire escape and see if I can get a bead on what's happening up there through the window. Agreed?" he added, grudgingly.

Jason's fists were clenched, his nails digging sharply into the skin of his palms.

"What is this idiot doing?" Novak grumbled as the squad car turned into a one-way street, which had been blocked by a black car with heavily tinted windows; it's driver presumably being the pale man wearing a suit who was leaning against the vehicle whilst smoking a cigarette. A single honk from the car horn caught the man's attention, as he dashed into the front seat of the vehicle.

Just a moment later, gunshots could be heard from a nearby building, filling the seemingly empty seat with screaming, as a dark figure burst out from the building and rushed straight for the car in front. "Vasir, Red! Get in there and check the scene, We'll go in pursuit!" Novak barked. As Mordecai and Rory scrambled out the squad car, it began to chase the vehicle that sped off not a moment earlier.

"Guess what they say is true, that the first night of a new job is never boring." Mordecai said as the pair approached the building, which from a now closer distanced was identified as a restaurant. Entering the establishment, the two rookie cops were greeted by a scene of chaos; patrons ran about the place like headless chickens, or were cowering under tables; and towards the back lay a man in a rather scruffy looking suit with four bullet holes, each accompanied by their own trail of smoke, which indicated that they were fresh.

The victim in question was writhing in pain as he made several gurgling, and rather in-human noises, each time coughed up blood. Behind him was a door to a back room that was left slightly a jar.

"Lucky that we came by this way, wouldn't you agree Roy?" Mordecai asked rhetorically before clapping rather loudly, drawing the attention of the aforementioned patrons.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, would you all kindly keep calm please; unlike the person that just left, we are NOT here to hurt you. My name is Mordecai, and my associate here is Rory, we are Constables in the re-established Praetorian Police Force, we deal with specialty cases of a possibly non-human nature. If you remain calm, and co-operative, this will all be over quickly, and you may go on with the rest of your evening." Mordecai said in a clear and concise voice, making sure that everyone could hear him. He then turned to Rory.

"Constable Red, whilst I go tend to the wounded gentleman in the back, please can you go find me a first aid kit; if the people who own the restaurant have any sense, it should be in the Kitchen. After that, please could you go around and talk to the patrons, find out exactly what happened."

As they walked down the street, Cali glanced at their quaint little surroundings. Other than the bickering ladies, it was pretty peaceful.

"So," she asked, "Where to first?"

Chris couldn't shake off the stares and walked cautiously. This clearly was a neighbourhood that the rich avoided and the poor put up with. Jason, on the other hand, seemed to know the place. That brought the Shifter some comfort. Well, until a loud noises, a lamp and bits of shattered glass greeted the Talin trio and the Praetorians. Chris immediately ducked - sure Shifters could take more pain than most, but he didn't want to be become a porcupine of glass shards. Jason, as ever, acted the leader and barked some orders. Two go in the front, one goes up the ladder, yadda, yadda. Chris wasn't too keen on it - not the plan just that it could be something like a murder, or it could simply be somebody taking their anger on a poor lamp.

"Sure," He replied, "Not sure how this relatives to gang activity though..."

Now for the Talin to respond. Chris had to admit they were a matching pair of sorts, both slender dark-haired men (at least for the time being.) with long hair. Though he would never slouch like that and the silver tooth was just overkill. It was kinda annoying having to answer questions every second or wait to for questions to be answered, but hey, that's conversation. Not it mattered if his colleague said no, anyway. It was just important that the manoeuvre would be pulled off together. Chris cringed just at the thought of being that guy that blindly charged into danger alone, and to do so on the first day... Well, he might as well hand in his badge if that happened. It would teach 'em to recruit a fresh-faced country boy though.

Jason gave Chris one of his looks, his brow furrowed deeply.

'Are you kidding me?! For all we know someone's about to get their skull caved in up there, and you just wanna keep walking?! Do you wanna be a cop or not?'

However, when Jason spoke, he chose a more diplomatic path.

"I doubt there's gonna be a big gang shootout in the middle of the street if we turn our backs for a moment to take a little detour." he said "If there is, I take full responsibility. Other than that... best case scenario we stop someone from getting hurt, and worst case scenario we waste a couple of minutes of our time investigating nothing. I reckon it's worth a closer look."

Jason's attention now switched over to Lloyd. Jason knew enough to know that Dark Kin were more often than not cautious and measured by nature, but it's not like he was asking to storm the apartment guns in hand. Not yet anyway. All Jason wanted was a closer look, before he judged what to do next, and he hoped that this one would take the idea of 'Protect and Serve' a little more seriously.

The evening was pleasant enough, all things considered. Not too cold or warm, not annoyingly humid or dry, devoid of massive crowds filling the air with their inane prattling and bustle. Really, it was just a nice night to spend outside, perhaps on a walk or, if one could make it over to Harvest Hill, a picnic dinner in the park.

Sadly, the call of duty was a heavy burden. Instead of engaging in one of these leisurely activities, Archibald found himself patrolling the northernmost part of Oldtown. Sure, the neighborhood was nice and all; there was no doubt about that. In fact, had he been alone, the man probably would've entertained himself by whistling some silly tune or another as he strode through the city streets.

However, ill-suited company can sour even the most delightful of times. As he walked along, Archibald was painfully aware of the two other officers trailing behind him. He hadn't deigned to look back at them in quite some time, but he could still hear their tromping footsteps, no matter how hard he tried to block them out.

Still, by some miracle or another, the man managed to keep his expression neutral and free of annoyance. The presence of the Warg and Talin may have been nothing less than infuriating, but it was still his task, as an officer of the peace, to exude calm, collected poise in even the worst of situations. If that meant he had to endure the company of these mongrels, then so be it.

"So. Where to first?"

"Hmmm?"

Turning so that he could just barely see the Talin out of the corner of his eye, Archibald raised a questioning eyebrow. What on earth was she talking abo-

Ah. Over there on the street corner, the two women who fell just short of shouting at each other. How had he missed them?

Clearing his throat once, Archibald addressed his compatriot's query, making sure to avoid using some of his more sophisticated vernacular. "Well, I do believe we were tasked with ensuring the peace in this neighborhood," he began, his tone full of pride and dedication. "And that includes making sure that the residents are well taken care of and quiet."

Squaring his shoulders, the man began to pace towards the pair of bickering women, striding past a group of curious onlookers along the way. When he was but a few yards away from the women, he addressed them, his voice more than loud enough to announce his presence. "Good evening, ma'am, ma'am. Is something the matter?"

Rat lagged behind, reading the headline as the news stand closed up. He said the words slowly as he read, under his breath. Suddenly noticing his companions having moved on without him, his face turned a light pink and he jogged to catch up, not daring to look in their eyes. The two women in front of them were loud, but the human was able to speak over them just enough to remain polite. He tried to match the man's name to his face, but he could hardly remember it due to the way Novak had stumbled over it, and gave up. The argument was going faster than he cared for, and so focused on the poster. It was wordy, but the picture and large letters underneath it made things pretty clear.

"Cat," he said calmly, pointing at the posters and looking towards Archibald, as if the human was too stupid to have noticed. He turned his attention to the woman hanging them up and made a motion with his hands. "Something with scent?"

Marc had never been to this side of Old Town, not that he ever actually traveled too far away from his house. He spent his time memorizing the road layout and following Jason. He seemed to know the place, at least, probably lived here. Less likely to be a human, then, but still possible. Why any poverty stricken human would turn to police work rather than crime, especially when you looked like Jason, was beyond him. The Talin kid that clung to the big man's ankle seemed fun, too.

He stopped automatically when the group did, and it took him a second to follow the gaze of his companions. A group of Talin kids, just loitering about decided to strike up a staring contest. Marc followed until he heard a crash and felt porcelain bounce of his trousers.

"Sounds like a domestic disturbance..."

"Sounded like a broken lamp to me." Marc muttered, under his breath.

"-But it could be a robbery. You two go get the front door. I'll climb the fire escape and see if I can get a bead on what's happening up there through the window. Agreed?"

Marc raised an eyebrow, this seemed like a bit of an overreaction to the downtrodden throwing things at police officers. He'd seen it all the time with human officers...

"Sure. Not sure how this relatives to gang activity though..."

'The Dark Kin are declaring war on appliances.' Marc rolled his eyes, looking at the ramshackle building.

"I doubt there's gonna be a big gang shootout in the middle of the street if we turn our backs for a moment to take a little detour. If there is, I take full responsibility. Other than that... best case scenario we stop someone from getting hurt, and worst case scenario we waste a couple of minutes of our time investigating nothing. I reckon it's worth a closer look."

"... Have we considered it just being a punk, or an accident? I can go myself while you two continue the patrol. It'd take, I dunno, a few minutes? They gave me a gun." Marc spoke somewhat quickly, as was usual, patting his holster on the last bit for emphasis.

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