To Protect And Serve


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Scene Title Protect and Serve
Synopsis It is graduation day for police cadets and SCOUT has gathered to celebrate the dawning of a new day for the Safe Zone.
Date June 10, 2019

“Standing here, on the steps of the Red Hook Municipal building…”

Mayor Caroline Short was always a controversial choice for the first mayor of New York City after the war.

“…I see the shadows of the Brooklyn that once was cast by the Safe Zone that is today.”

Caroline Short stood defiantly in the face of the status quo, challenged centrists on both sides of the aisle prior to the civil war, and served as a campaign adviser for Allen Rickham, a man who would have been President, in a just world.

“I see the faces of friends and family, but moreover I see the faces of survivors.”

Standing in front of a crowd of more than a thousand Safe Zone residents on the steps of the Red Hook Municipal Building, Mayor Short is surrounded by the first graduating class of the New York Safe Zone Police Academy, the class of 2019. Their black dress uniforms are adorned with gold trim, chalk white gloves held fast behind their backs, posture stiff and shoulders squared. Here, the firebrand of SLC rights is surrounded by those in the dress of an administration that, the last time anyone wore that uniform, was a symbol of oppression.

“I see the faces of New Yorkers who came together as a city after 9/11…”

To Caroline’s right, Police Commissioner Marcus Donovan stands with head held high and jaw squared, his brows creased and countenance stoic. He is faced with the crowd of spectators, of uniformed police officers, detectives, and their friends and family who have come to see the first generation of post-war cadets graduate.

“…the same New Yorkers who threw themselves into the fires of November 8th head-first to save lives…”

Caroline’s impassioned speech reverberates across the street, where Albany-based television crews are filming for a broadcast that won’t even be picked up by the majority of the Safe Zone’s residents. Radio outlets are here too, vans parked across the street. Microphones rest like a bouquet of flowers atop the podium Caroline stands at. Speaking well of a new generation of police, speaking well of a group of people who have the potential to serve justice, or be the instruments of injustice.

“…the same New Yorkers who took up arms to fight against tyranny…”

But this would not be the NYPD of old.

“…the same New Yorkers who embody the spirit of what peace officers should be…”

This would be different.

“Those who would protect and serve.”

Jackson’s Bar & Grill

Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

June 10


Two hours after white gloves are tossed into the air, two hours after Mayor Short personally pinned a badge on each and every one of the 217 graduating cadets, the streets are still filled with spectators and well-wishers. For Colette Demsky and Kaylee Sumter, today was a culmination of six months — and a lifetime — of work. For them, it was the beginning of new personal journeys, each sitting squarely in the shadows of the decisions they’ve made over the last ten years. Both women are exhausted, but neither show it for all the energy that’s in the air today.

But for the members of NYPD-SCOUT, the limelight in the streets is inconsequential. Commissioner Donovan and Mayor Short can mug for the camera, SCOUT has other plans in mind. Just down the street from the municipal building, a dimly-lit brick-walled pub is home to a more personal celebration. Something without camera, without microphones, without questions from the press or the media. Today is the commencement of the NYPD.

“So Sarah turns around in her chair, eyes wide, looks me right in the eyes and says to me — stone cold, I kid you not — I ate your fucking sandwich.” Laughing between the words of her own story, Detective Erin Gordon gestures wildly with a beer in one hand, an easy smile spread across her face and one arm around the shrinking violet of the topic of her story, SCOUT analyst Sarah Hart. The red-faced blonde purses her lips and looks down into her gin and tonic, then blinks a look up to Erin.

“Erin,” Hart says with faux coldness in her voice, “God help me, I would eat that sandwich again.” Both she and Erin burst into laughter, with the latter pounding her fist on the tabletop, eyes wrenched shut and tears nearly in her eyes.

Erin slaps Hart on the back, wheezing so hard from laughter that she can barely breathe. “Look at this, the office dandelion, emphasis on lion!

“Alright, alright,” comes the mediating tone from SCOUT’s newly placed Sergeant. Dheeraj Modi sits with his back to the wall, a glass of water with a slice of lime sitting in front of him rather than alcohol. “I think we’ve all established that Ms. Hart will pull a knife on someone when she’s hungry.” But even Modi can’t help but join in the camaraderie. Sarah laughs, shaking her head and raking her hair away from her face, nursing her gin and tonic further.

“It’s always the quiet ones,” is a piece of insight from Captain Wilson’s assistant, Mira Sadowsky. “My late wife, Willa, most people would call her a wallflower…” Mira admits with a wave of one hand in the air, “but I watched her run across four lanes of traffic to pick a guy up by the throat and throw him onto the street because she saw him slap his girlfriend.” Mira swirls her beer around, looking into the neck of the bottle with partly lidded eyes. “Super strength wasn’t even her ability,” Mira adds with a lopsided smile at the end of the story, followed by a few laughs from the others at the table.

Colette has been quiet through most of the revelry since they’d been served, still in her dress uniform with her cap on the table in front of her. She has a beer she’s only half finished, label stripped off in a long curl like an orange peel. Her attention is on a scuffed old police badge on the table, a four-digit detective number unlike the five-digit ones assigned to SCOUT detectives. She looks up and around the table, then picks up her beer and takes a quiet sip.

But it’s Captain Wilson coming over to the table from the bar with an Old Fashioned in hand that starts to calm things down. “Why don’t we all climb off of Hart’s back for a minute,” Wilson starts to say, settling into his seat.

“Yeah or she’ll stab us,” Erin interjects to a new round of raucous laughter.

Harrison.” Wilson’s conversational baritone cuts across the table, “you looking forward to managing these jackals?” He flashes her a smile, stirring his drink.

Elisabeth's been quietly nursing her own beer on the other side of Modi. During the course of brushing up on the more recent changes in laws, she's gotten to know the people who are going to form the core of the SCOUT team — at least well enough to be social with everyone. Much as she was with Frontline, she tries to make it a point to have a personal contact with each of her people so as to at least have a solid open-door policy. And she knows Colette's having a bit of a hard time today… She tips her beer bottle in a silent toast when she catches the girl's eye. Judah Demsky was a good cop. When her name is called, the small grin that has quirked her lips as she listens to the banter widens. It's like coming home in ways she can't explain… even as there's a subtle feeling still of not quite fitting in. It's her own problem to deal with, though, and blue eyes skim the cut-ups briefly.

"Well, Cap'n, … I think it's going to be a challenge. But I'm looking forward to trying. As it stands, I learned something new today — keep beef jerky in my desk, just in case Hart misses breakfast." She winks at the detective. "It's an old habit anyway, cuz Ivanov never stops eating. For the rest of you…" She points at them en masse around the bottle of beer in her hand, "don't touch the chocolate in my desk, or I will be the one stabbin' a bitch." Hey, we all have our weaknesses!

SCOUT’s resident (partially) invulnerable detective is possibly the only one not drinking. It’s really not out of any sense of duty or anything of the sort, and she hasn’t volunteered to be designated driver, or anything like that. If she had it her way, she would be slinging the carbonated beverages down right along with her coworkers. Unfortunately, beers and liquor don’t tend to have any of the intended effects on Marisa Blomgren.

So while the others are enjoying a good brew, the bulletproof blonde is instead enjoying a nice icy mug of root beer, leaving the beer to those who get something out of it and opting for flavor instead.

Her lack of inebriation doesn’t make her any less part of the celebrations, however. She laughs along with the sandwich story, taking a swig of her non-alcoholic beverage. She’s heard amazing things about Lieutenant Harrison — really, meeting the woman is a bit like meeting a celebrity, though she has kept her cool so far and avoided squealing at the audiokinetic. “Which drawer would that be in? Asking for a friend,” She asks fearlessly of the chocolate, a teasing grin on her face.

It is coming home. Coming full circle - he was one of these rookies, twenty five years ago. Before 9-11. Before the bomb. Before the War. Before FBI and SCOUT and FRONTLINE and Wolfhound. But Fel’s refrained from any ‘Back in my day’ stories, any comments about how it used to be done. Because it won’t ever be done like it was back when he was a too-tight upright shiny new rookie cop…..and that’s a blessing, and exactly how it should be. Maybe the pale eyes are occasionally just a touch misty, but it’s hard to tell.

Oh, he’s congratulated the newcomers, hugged Colette, all the proper sentiments expressed. But he’s been meditatively silent for most of it, thoughtful…and even the celebration here isn’t enough to jar him out it. He’s mostly stuck close to Liz throughout, too. The rapport is what it was, that weird bond they have, something beyond mere friendship.

But he glances over at Colette, and the little talisman before her, and smiles at her, conspiratorially.

An arm drops across Colette’s shoulders, as Kaylee slides up to the table with her iced tea. She’s dressed in her own dress uniform still, her blonde hair twisted up neat and tight at the back of her head, her make-up actually done. She couldn’t drink, but it was hard not to be in a jovial and playful mood around this lot.

Kaylee’s head tilts to consider the younger woman, “He’d be so damn proud of you, Cole,” her voice pitched lower for her ears only. “So am I. You did it!” Pulling off her hat, she sets it down next to the other graduates, before red lips, press her to best friends temple…. And the left behind lipstick is promptly brushed off, lest she make the wives perturbed. “We did it.”

When she drops to sit, a pair of mirrored aviators, cop glasses so to speak, are pulled from a pocket and set in front of both of them, amusement in her eyes. “Look what Luther gave me before he left.” Kaylee looks at them with amusement, “It was a gag gift, but jokes on him.” She leaned her head close and whispers, “I’m totally going to wear those.” Yeah she totally had those on her the entire time, in fact, she slips them on with a bright smile.

Her attention shifts outward to the rest of their team. It was surreal to Kaylee to be here at this moment. It felt like the studying and extra work to keep up would never end. “I still can’t believe we finally made it.”

Colette meets Felix’s stare from across the table, smiling sheepishly as she pockets the badge and tucks it away into her jacket. She nods to Kaylee, leaning against her for a brief moment before saying, “Thanks. Top of my fucking class, too,” she says exasperatedly, though quietly. “We did it, we really fucking did it.” Though the seriousness in her expression fades when she sees the glasses Kaylee has, and she can’t help but exhale a strangled laugh and shake her head.

Jesus christ Kaylee,” Colette says through her smile, “did he get you a motorcycle and thigh-high boots too?” As Colette reaches up to sweep her thumb beneath one of her eyes and swallow down a bubble of emotion in her throat, Captain Wilson takes the opportunity to draw the attention away from her. “I’m proud of all of you, because this table of people? No matter who comes and goes from now on, this table is the first SCOUT. The forerunners, blazing a trail for reform. That’s something t’be proud of, that’s something folks who come later on down the line will look back at with a sense of wonder.”

Erin leans in to take a sip of her drink as Wilson is talking, then cracks a smile and shakes her head. “Do you sell inspirational messages like that over the internet? Maybe a podcast or something?” Mira, who’s already two drinks in, barks out a laugh at that so loud it startles her. She claps a hand over her mouth, blue eyes wide as she looks at Wilson, who at least laughs along with Erin’s remark.

“You know,” Hart chimes in, idly stirring her drink and still rosy-cheeked from the earlier ribbing, “there’s a significant number more women serving in SCOUT than anywhere else in the NYPD.” Using her stirrer, Hart skewers a cherry in her rum and coke, lifting it up out of the glass and tapping off the excess back into the cup. “We’re actually just a couple months past the 111th anniversary of the first female police officer being brought on to the NYPD.”

Modi raises his brows, looking over at Hart with surprise. “You knew that off the top of your head?” He certainly didn’t.

“Hart’s got a head for numbers,” Mira notes between sips of her drink. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s memorized all our birthdates and made embarrassing plans for each and every one of us in her little notebook.” That comment comes with a motion of a finger at Hart’s purse slung over the back of her chair.

I’d never!” Hart says with feigned indignation, hand at her chest. “…admit to that,” is added much quieter.

Listening to them, Elisabeth can't help but be amused. This group … if they can pull it off, this group is going to be one of the best she's ever helped build. That's not about laws, that's about people. She smirks slightly at Sarah Hart. "Well, that was bound to be the case when someone let Donovan stack the deck. Commissioner or not, if you're uncomfortable with anything he ever says to you, don't hesitate to smack him down verbally," she comments. "Wilson or I will back you on it." Marcus knows he's an old horndog and generally takes such smackdowns with a grin. And both Liz and the Captain are aware there are going to be many facepalms going on.

Her blue eyes trail across the assembled people, her smile lingering. "All joking aside," she says in a quiet voice that carries easily without being raised. "We've got a lot of work ahead, but this?" She gestures to the table. "This is what it's about — the team. You'll do your badges proud. It's my privilege to work with all of you." Her eyes linger on the newer people a long moment, but they warm with affection at the ones she knows well.

Marisa’s the quiet one in the room, really — she knows and has worked with Wilson extensively during the war, and prior to the war she had a coffee and some good conversations with Felix, but most of these faces are new to her. The lack of alcohol may also be contributing to her lack of boisterous loudness.

However, she does beam a bit under Wilson’s blanket of praise, and then a bit more at Elisabeth’s words. She raises her mug a bit, smiling to Liz. “Gotta say that I look forward to working with you,” she points out. “I watched your career when I was at Pace, and practically hero worshipped you.” That’s not to say she wasn’t a little bit giddy when she found out that her boss was going to be the Elisabeth Harrison, but she hides it much better these days.

The woman takes a swig of the dark fizzy liquid in the mug, setting it down. “I guess I look forward to working with the rest of you lot, too,” she adds, grinning as her eyes stop on each face gathered. “Do try not to get me shot too much, okay?”

There's only a fond little smile for that gesture. Who else here remembers what a good cop that previous Demsky was? "She's right," Fel tells Colette. "He'd've been so proud. So I'll be here and be a little proud of you on his behalf."

Then there's speechifying, just a bit. He meets Liz's gaze again, smiles that sphinxish smile. Once upon a time he'd've been one of the brashest, the noisiest. Now, maybe, only the most overtly battered.

His only comment is a gnomic, "The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack."

“Hell, I might get them myself,” Kaylee teases quietly aside to her friend and co-worker, pushing the glasses up on her head. It looks odd with her dress blues, but she doesn’t care.

As Wilson speaks up, Kaylee settles back in her seat, picking up her iced tea. Attention shifts from person to person a small smile on her face, even Liz’ comment gets a laugh. The telepath has probably heard some of what he has been thinking. Not that she’s dish.

“To new beginnings,” Kaylee comments quietly, taking a drink of her tea. The smile on her lips pulls crooked, as she looks around the table. “I admit it feels so weird being on this side of the line, even working my old job.” This just makes it stand out more. “Feels damn good to be here.”

“Pass. I've had enough pack and dog metaphors for one career-lifetime,” Colette says with a crooked smile to Felix. “But,” her smile softens some, “thanks. I mean— it means a lot. All of this does.”

“You should all be mindful,” Modi says as he picks up his water, “that your first day on the job is tomorrow. Celebration is one thing, but at least pretend to have a sense of moderation today.” For as dad as Modi’s tone is, its delivered with such a gentle touch and thoughtful care.

Leaning back in her chair and hooking an arm over the back, Erin motions with her drink in Kaylee’s direction. “T’new beginnings, definitely. I never imagined the Mayor’d put a mashup of misfit toys like us together, but the Commissioner must've sold it good. Folks are still giving me shit about this posting being Expressive-only though.”

I thought your sentiment was very nice, Lieutenant Harrison,” Hart says, trampling over whatever point Erin was trying to make, while at the same time drawing attention to the fact that Elisabeth praised the room and was met with tired smiles. “We’re going to work very hard to be worthy of that, I have no doubt.”

“How many of those have you had?” Mira asks Hart with a side eye and a snorted laugh, and Hart’s face flushes red and she drags her drink across the table to herself.

Enough,” Hart offers opaquely. “Enough drink.”

Rubbing his forehead with one hand, Wilson laughs and slaps a hand down on Elisabeth’s shoulder. “Alright, I'm gonna get up and go make nice with the Mayor and the Commissioner, you all have yourselves a safe evening, ok?” Yes, Captain Wilson is abandoning Elisabeth to the proverbial wolves. Much to Colette’s continues chagrin at the metaphor.

"Way to take one for the team, Cap'n," Elisabeth teases Wilson. Better him than her — Donovan cracks her up, but she's not sure the others will feel the same after a while.

She's uncomfortable with Marisa's fawning, though she tries not to show it. Looking at the rest of them, Elisabeth smiles faintly. "I'd ask why you're getting shit about an Ev— Expressive-only post, but it always happens. Your ability is just another tool in your arsenal, it's not what makes you a cop. It's certainly not what will make you a good cop." Her blue eyes skim over the cut-ups and she shrugs a little. "Most of what we do is investigation, but don't ever forget that whether you're on or off duty, you're being judged. And let me know if things get bad, Gordon. I don't fuck around — teasing and giving you shit is one thing. It gets out of line and I will come down like a ton of bricks." She's been the victim of such shit in the past — it isn't happening on her watch.

There are so many things Elisabeth could say, but she bites back all of them. Tomorrow is soon enough for the warnings, the reminders, the not-lighthearted stuff. For today she is simply amused… the realization just hit her with Modi's words that they are literally going to be the tag-team. It'll be interesting to see how that works out.

“They would give us shit no matter which way we go,” Marisa replies to Erin, lifting her root beer and taking a swig. “Welcome to post-war law enforcement — we’re in the spotlight, and everything we do is probably going to be overanalyzed and met with criticism.” The mostly-invulnerable blonde smiles charmingly.

“Best thing we can do is be on our best behavior and always remember that we are in the public eye.” She falls silent then, sitting back in her seat and taking a swig of the non-alcoholic beverage.

"To new beginnings," Fel echoes, still quietly. He's still got that inward-turned air. Erin's comment has a cynical glint in his eye, but he doesn't reply, not directly.

Liz, however, gets the little, curling grin. They both remember what it was like to be Evo poster children for law enforcement. It may tomorrow that's for grim business, but Fel's already there, mentally.

Back on the beat, ten years later. And he'd thought joining the Bureau would be his ticket out and away from New York.

"Here, here," he says to Marisa.

“Misfit toys,” Kaylee repeats with a chuckle. “Sounds about right.”

The telepath watches the departure of the Captain with a bit of a crooked smirk. “I do not envy that poor man. I was not made for politics.” Those that know Kaylee well enough know that isn’t completely true, if visions were to believed. “If I stay at this level, I’ll be happy. It means a better chance of time with my kids. Maybe once they are grown… then I’ll think about it.” Not really.

Sitting there, the telepath has her mental walls built up as thick as she can, only the blurred murmur of mental voices reaching her. These were the minds she’d remember in the field. However, Kaylee had no interest in knowing what they were thinking. She needed to trust in the team.

When Marisa mentions the eyes on them, she gets a bright smile reflected back at her from Kaylee. “No worries there, that’s the sorta job I did before Donovan pulled me in.”

Slouching back into her seat with her drink, Colette looks around the table at the people gathered. Her eyes dip down to her lap for a moment, brows furrowed and lost in thought. There is a camaraderie here that is much like she felt in Wolfhound, and there is a small part of her that misses those voices and that atmosphere. There’s a tension of responsibility here, tension of both uncertainty and responsibility. It leaves her distracted.

“We are all very fortunate to be where we are,” Modi says after a moment of silence lingers over the table, “and we would all do well to remember the departments that came before us, both for their commitment to this city and — moreover — to remember their shortcomings and ensure we never become them. We are peace officers,” he emphasizes. “Let the war remain where it is… in the past.”

Erin slides a look over at Modi, tongue pressing against the side of her cheek as she works over his somewhat saccharine sentiment. But then she exhales a short sigh and bobs her head in a begrudging nod. “We can be better,” she takes as a personal challenge, “I mean the bar’s pretty fuckin’ low, ain’t it?” Which has Modi gently pressing one hand to the side of his head.

“We are better,” comes from Mira, emphatically. “We have every opportunity not to screw this up, and even if I’m just behind a desk you can be damn well certain that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we don’t. And if we do,” she taps a finger down on the table, “that we’re held accountable for our actions.”

Hart shoots Mira a side-eye, then looks down at the table and smiles quietly. She picks up her drink, taking another moderate sip before settling it back down and looking to Elisabeth and Modi, then over to the retreating frame of Captain Wilson. “I think we have a good chance at that, with our department run by a paladin.”

“A… what?” Erin narrows her eyes and looks at Hart, who waves two hands in the air, flustered.

Nothing. He’s a good— He’s good.” Hart splutters, laughing nervously and picking up her drink and just finishing the rest.

Gentle laughter fills the air, even as the noise of the rest of the bar increases over the hour. Voices lifted up in unison, working together to stand above the shadow of corruption and failure that at times feels inescapable. It all rests on their shoulders, and the people of the Safe Zone — now more so than ever — find themselves in need of kindness and justice in equal measure.

It is up to SCOUT to live up to the motto emblazoned on the sides of their vehicles, and etched in stone above the entrance of police headquarters: Servite Atque Custodiat.

Protect and Serve.

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