The City of Jericho -> This Year's Graduating Class (Todd)
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 This Year's Graduating Class (Todd)
Suki Ito
 Posted: Nov 12 2014, 04:22 PM
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Chairwoman, Board of Education
Single


Awards: None


Ito had bypassed the security between the lobby and the judge’s chambers. It helped that they knew her a little by sight, that she’d managed a kind smile for them, and that she looked elegant, professional and harmless in her draping black and white dress and crisp white jacket. She appeared to be the sort of career woman that would have a meeting with Judge O’Connell and that, apparently, mattered more than an actual appointment.

Rapping lightly on the door, she opened it and slipped inside. It was a risk, of course, barging into someone’s office uninvited but worth it in this case. Ito took a couple steps in, eyes tracing the architecture of the walls and the personal decisions in the décor. It wasn’t a look she would have chosen, either as a hard-core fan of aggressive music or as her sleek, graceful and subdued assumed persona, but it suited what she knew of the man.

“Todd?” She projected her voice into the room, gently dropped her bag and jacket onto a nearby chair.

She couldn’t say that she knew O’Connell in a deep manner, but she’d sat through enough of her Father and Mother’s dinner parties of the eligible and the ascendant of Class-B to have known him years back. When his marriage had put an end to that sort of embarrassing social meetings, she still ran into him at events hosted by this political ally or for that Jerichan event. The most she’d talked to him was at a Holiday party and it had gotten dangerously close to seditious talk of class-mobility –not because they’d agreed on every point, just because they had talked about it at length.

Which was why she was troubled at his latest decision regarding the Beta Graduating class this year. For children second to the Alphas in grades, they had done remarkably well. If not for the request of three Beta students, she could have moved the top of Beta to Alpha and caused no stumbling whatsoever in the Alphas regiment of advanced education.

“We need to talk.”
She shifted some clutter off one corner of O’Connell’s desk and sat down, waiting. If he wasn't an idiot, he'd probably know exactly why she was here.

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Todd O'Connell
 Posted: Nov 12 2014, 08:11 PM
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Judge (Citizenship Affairs)
Married - Natalia Ramos (Class F)


Awards: 2



Todd lifted his head at the sound of the opening door. The desk he had crawled under was awfully low for lost pen excavations, and so the top of head met the tabletop’s underneath with a startling force. Feeling momentarily dazed, Todd leaned back against the head back of the wood board and remained concealed under the cave-like desk.

The voice sounded distinctive and familiar, fueling retrospective thoughts. He could hear the sounds of papers fluttering to the ground as she carelessly— at least to his ears— pushed the papers on his deskaside. Despite the looming stacks of clutter on his chair and desk that screamed utter mess to the untrained eye, Todd was an orderly person; he had his own view of organized chaos, if you will. Paper was becoming a rare commodity in Jericho, and he was in the process of sorting and scanning his documents so that they could be accessed electronically.

At the words, “We need to talk”, Todd knew it was Suki who had forced her way into his office. Indeed his office was unlocked, and quite frankly, he didn’t mind the visitor being her. It could have been someone worse…like his wife.

He hadn’t seen Ito for awhile and figured that she was here to discuss the recent graduating class’ assignments. She would be preaching to the choir, but he could make time for an old acquaintance (He often pretended to be much more busy than he often was).

Todd could be an ass at times. Feeling a bit ruffled by the sound of his papers, he reached up, so that only his arm was invisible, and pressed a non-functioning buzzer on his desk. He had yet to get the buzzer fixed.

“I need security. Someone has entered my office without an appointment and has decided to rearrange my desk,” he announced from under the table. He didn't know if Suki would believe him, but it was better than talking about his latest decision.

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Suki Ito
 Posted: Nov 13 2014, 11:25 AM
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Ito examined the chaos of O’Connell’s desk. It was a working desk, not one for show, and she supposed she could appreciate the luxury of paper. She loved reading out of actual books and was very choosy about what technology she embraced. Yet, looking at this mess, she wondered how he ever found anything.

Ito had transitioned to digital a year back and quickly realized that, while it didn’t have the tactile quality, it was infinitely easy to find things. And when you never had enough time, wasting it on thumbing through files and folders and cabinets seemed stupid.

To O’Connell’s pressing of a buzzer, almost identical to the one that Ito had on her own desk, and his little joke, she took a small breath and leaned towards where he was hiding. His hair was in reaching distance so she moved her hand toward it, intending to lightly grab some of it and use it to lift his head and bring his eyes up to her face.

“Aigoo.” She muttered, “It’s just me. And if I was going to rearrange your desk, it would be more of an undertaking than just stacking three folders atop each other.”

She withdrew, shifting on the edge of the desk, “Now. If you’re done…”

She paused, trying not to mentally extrapolate what he’d been doing exactly under his desk. “…I’ll get to the point. No. Let’s take a little detour, shall we?”

Ito crossed her arms, kicking out her heeled feet to the floor for better balance. “We’ve known each other for a while and we work in somewhat similar spheres. But we’ve never needed a face-to-face meeting. Do you know why that is, Todd?”

She gave him an icy, mildly disappointed look. “You’re fair. And regardless of how much of this…process…this job… is using numbers and charts to sort people into boxes, you know that these are people’s lives that you are determining. I never saw one glint of politics in your decisions. I was proud of you for that…so…” She tilted her head, eyes narrowing, “What? You lost your spine?”

Ito rose, dark eyes on him, “Did it get lost under the papers maybe? Under the desk? Or did some prat with a handful of favors come along? Did someone with extra credits make a cushy deposit in your bank account?”

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Todd O'Connell
 Posted: Nov 13 2014, 08:20 PM
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Drea
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Judge (Citizenship Affairs)
Married - Natalia Ramos (Class F)


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Todd smoothed out his ruffled hair as he waited for Suki to get to the point of what she declared her “little detour”. He was fuming a bit, as evident from the nibbling of his bottom lip. The last person who had grabbed his hair like that was his mother, and he could fathom that he doing the exact motion on the woman would guarantee him an arrest for sexual harassment.

He had strong ambitions for politics that sometimes took a toll on his sleeping patterns. Yet, Suki recognized the humanitarian approach of his decisions. As a judge he had to be fair, but the difficult undertaking was deciding what constituted fairness.

When she completed her reprimanding of his recent decisions, Todd stood up from the chair that he had been slowly easing into as she spoke.

“Wait…lets go back to the point where you were proud of me,” he spun his finger in the air in a backward motion, hinting at a small smile. She held a slightly higher rank than him despite the two of them being class B citizens. Perhaps his occupation was more powerful than he thought.

He continued, walking forward, “You know that only one certain administration is capable of swaying my decisions. It doesn’t matter anyway because what’s done is done. ‘Whoops, I changed my mind?’" he turned around to face her, throwing his arms out, "Absurd— that would be chaotic.”

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Suki Ito
 Posted: Nov 16 2014, 09:33 PM
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O’Connell seemed to dislike her grabbing at his hair like she had. It was too late to do anything about that and she was upset enough with the man that, twistedly, she almost felt he deserved it. And so, Ito decided that she wouldn’t apologize.

When he tried to “rewind” the conversation, she fixed him with an unamused look. Was he seven? Or hadn’t his parents been proud of him enough—she’d thought they were D-Class, they should have been thrilled—to actual compliment him.

“Let’s not.” She said firmly. If he needed affirmation that badly, he should see a therapist.

She listened as he spoke, paying attention to his tone of voice. Unless he was particularly good at hiding his emotions, he seemed to have made peace with this decision long ago. If it wasn’t so infuriating, it would almost be sad.

Ito narrowed her eyes, asking simply, “One of the Lords?”

If it was a mere individual, she might be able to do something about it. If it was the entire House, or worse the council or Master-of-all-Bishop, it might be political suicide to even bring it up. Ito considered a moment but couldn’t talk herself into a wise course of action.

Ito shifted backwards to avoid O’Connell’s swinging arms. “Todd, the fact that I came in here, ranting vaguely and you still knew what I was referring to…it means that you know…you know it’s an injustice. Correcting an injustice should never be considered absurd.”

She bit her bottom lip, trying to reign in her emotions so that she could state her cases succinctly and clearly. “Those kids don’t deserve those placements. I know it. You know it. And if the City wasn’t run like a giant machine that takes people and spits them into gaps and slots like were still in the dark ages-“ Ito closed her mouth to stop the sudden slanderous talk, taking a breath before finishing softly, “the prats upstairs would know it too. What’s the point of my encouraging the best in my students if they are going to be crammed into positions they are ill-suited for?”

She crossed to her bag, retrieving a small computer-device and tossing the holographic picture of a pixie-haired brunette into the air. There were other students, in her files, ready for presentation as well but Lira stood out as a radical departure from sensible placement.

“Lira Carson.” Ito spun the picture a little, throwing her grades up to the sides, but narrating in a harsh voice as well. “She got As in science and mathematics. Bs in almost everything else. Her only Cs? Physical Education Courses. Why is she going into Class-E, Todd? Not only is there nothing in her file that would suggest a military aptitude but…she… she’s not a fighter. Her personality, her skills…”

Ito swallowed, too choked up to continue. Her kids didn’t deserve this. How could they survive in these classes? How could they even begin to be content and happy citizens of Jericho?

If you need me to change anything, shoot me a PM. =)

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Todd O'Connell
 Posted: Nov 17 2014, 08:19 PM
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Drea
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Married - Natalia Ramos (Class F)


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Suki wasn’t amused by Todd’s humor which was unfortunate because he had been hoping that they could continue skirting around the point without actually reaching the part where they discussed her reason for coming in the first place.

“You know that I’m not at liberty to say,”
he replied when she had asked if it was one of the lords, “Look at it this way; I’m saving you the trouble of hunting them down, and saving them the trouble of finding you barging into their office without expected notice.”

The assignment had come from a group much higher. Todd didn’t feel the need to bash her hopes or get her into unnecessary trouble. Her complaints would stop with him.

Todd finished swinging his arms and rolled his eyes at her metaphor.You say they are…” he trailed off as he realized that she wasn’t done, and that her next call of action was to give him a solid example.

He went over to look at her computer, rubbing his chin as he studied the young girl on the screen. He remembered Lira. She had been one of their wildcards, an enigma of sorts.

“We need individuals akin to the sciences on Level E. We need people who can one day lead the ranks because the military would be nothing without a leader guiding the physically-strengthened masses. You’re right, Lira is not a fighter, but Jericho's military is in need of a composed citizen who can make informed decisions representing of the general population.”

Todd felt like he was grappling at straws. He hoped that Suki wouldn’t see past his B.S., and maybe she wouldn’t as based on the unnecessary emotion during her speech. The truth was he had been told to reduce the population in Level C this year and to increase the military tactical unit. He hadn’t been told to put a positive and convincing spin on it, but he supposed it came with the job.

((Nah, looks good to me! I'm loving our threads. XD))

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Suki Ito
 Posted: Nov 18 2014, 11:12 AM
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“My, my, you manage to make being useless sound helpful. Have you taken a class or have you been practicing in a mirror?” She returned without a smile.

Ito could have tried a different tactic, she supposed, like womanly sobbing, eyelash fluttering or outright flattery but even if she wanted to work up the energy to act so uncharacteristically, O’Connell just didn’t deserve it. Chances were that no one would care to reprimand him besides her…and since all she could do was make him feel a little insulted and uncomfortable, then she’d better make it count.

“Who?”
She asked bluntly. “Go on. Pass the buck. It’s what we’re trained for anyway…Ah…you know…if it makes you feel better, you can shove me out the door, curse my interference. In full-view of all your people and have those handy eyewitness accounts about what an upstanding and obedient company man you are.”

She listened to O’Connell. Hoping for a sort of sensible speech or at least something that sounded like he’d actually thought the placements through. For a moment, she could almost agree with him, but she swiftly began to recognize the tell-tale signs of propaganda.

“Nice to know that you ignored the psyche profile.” She said sarcastically, flicking that portion of Lira’s file into the air for a few seconds before shutting the system down. O’Connell had already seen all of this. And if it hadn’t deterred him, her shoving it in his face wouldn’t make any difference.

Lira might be the best general the world had ever seen. Smart. Logical. Dutiful. Except for that pesky fact that she had consistently exhibited the flight-mechanism when under stress. Undoubtedly, Class-E would find some position where she could make a contribution but any grandiose vision of leadership was so far-fetched that it was laughable.

“Strange, isn’t it?” She secured the device in her bag, shrugging her shoulders, “I always figured that out of the two of us, you were the bleeding heart.”

Ito took a breath, banishing the last bit of passion from her voice. “Sometimes, we have to take one for the City. Sometimes, we get into positions where our hands are tied. Sometimes, people get trapped and that’s that. But there’s too many this time. So you can squirm or you can help me but I promise you this, Todd, I’m not going to stop.”

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Todd O'Connell
 Posted: Nov 20 2014, 08:16 PM
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Drea
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Judge (Citizenship Affairs)
Married - Natalia Ramos (Class F)


Awards: 2



Todd was in the process of emerging in the realm of backstabbing politicians. A little gossip here and there could fuel a successful career. However he saw no incentive in giving the councilwoman any names. So far she had made no attempts at bribery, and her insults were not helping her case either.

“Or I could simply ask you to leave,” he raised a brow, knowing that even with a malfunctioning buzzer he could have her be escorted out by the guards.

After he explained his decision, Todd felt somewhat defeated.

“I didn’t,” he firmly stated in response to ignoring the psyche profiles. He hoped that Lira would be situated in a command room where her fight or flight instincts would kick in when ordering her troops to retreat. He hoped the military would keep their word for the sake of the girl and his own conscience.

“Are you done?” he asked tersely when she spoke about bleeding hearts. The decision hadn’t been an easy one, but it was the best one he could make considering the other candidates.

“Then continue without me,”
he snapped, an edge of irritation in his voice, “you make it sound like Level E is a bad thing.” He had to tell her, “If you look at the fine print in her genetic profile and history, there is something there that almost put her in Level F if not for my decision, so don’t berate me on what I should have or shouldn’t had done. Now. Please leave.”

He stood there and waited, making no move to usher her out. If she refused to leave, help was just outside those doors.

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Suki Ito
 Posted: Nov 23 2014, 05:30 PM
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Ito wanted to shrug. But that seemed the body-language of unhappy teenagers, not grown-women. So she simply met O’Connell’s gaze. If he wanted her forcibly removed, all he had to do was make a move. So far, he hadn’t.

She supposed she could have bribed him. It happened every day. Those who didn’t take bribes or offer them were either fools or people who still wished the City to be more than strong…to be fair. To be good. To be benevolent. Or people like her, who by some twisted unfathomable morality, would rather threaten and pressure and crush than try to lure goodness out of people.

She’d thought she wouldn’t have to bring O’Connell down. A few reminders of what he’d been before. A few facts. A trip through an example case. An appeal to his better nature. Some exceedingly shaming insults.

Oh well. She’d been naïve. It happened. It wouldn’t happen again.

“No.”
She returned, flatly, emotionlessly, “But you won’t hear it. Why waste my breath and your time…you’ve got great pencil hunts and butt-kissing to get back to.”

Ito listened to his response. Let him rant. Let him justify.

When he finished, she nodded, as if she hadn’t heard a word. “I’ll just have to try and get her out before she gets killed. Canon-fodder, you know, always the first to go.”

She didn’t believe the general thing for a second. It was as likely as Bishop retiring from power, distributing his wealth and moving to Class-F. Maybe O’Connell believe it. Maybe he’d had assurances. Maybe he was just too trusting in this monstrosity of government that the Founders had put in place. She couldn’t trust that. Couldn’t trust anything, apparently.

“Genetics.” She sighed, “Wouldn’t it all be easy if we were judged on character? Those kids would make such a difference and we’d be ashamed, wouldn’t we? Of the things that we’ve done to get ahead.”

Ito packed up her bag and opened the door. “I won’t see you again. In a social setting, I’ll look right through you. Feel free to do the same.”

Ito slipped through, nodding pleasantly to the secretaries and listening to the sound of her heels clacking on the tiles. It made her seem confident and fearless. Inside, she felt bitter and betrayed. No matter. O’Connell wasn’t who she thought he was. She wasn’t who he thought she was either. If it didn’t have such a tragic edge to it, it would almost be amusing.

Outside the building, she brought her communication-device to her lips. Securing it to a private and untraceable channel, she said, “Dust, find me a hacker, please. Someone discrete.”

Note: Close thread. =)


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