Update to the Mayor

Update to the Mayor

“You wished to see me, Mayor Zardona?”

“Yes, Director Balisong. Come in,” the man behind the desk said brusquely. Director Balisong maintained her outward composure but sighed inwardly. On the mayor’s desk were this morning’s copies of all the city’s newspapers – The Observer, the Everyman, the News-Herald, the Silver-Hill Sentinel, and the Evening Call. She suspected she knew what this meeting was about, and now that she saw the papers on his desk she knew she was right.

“This new team, S.A.V.I.O.R., is an embarrassment to Century Station,” Mayor Zardona announced once she walked up to his desk. “First that robot, Caedechron, is arrested last night by your officers for Murder. I expected that to be the news today – and it was in the Observer. But the other papers are having a different field day. Look at this!” He tossed her a copy of this morning’s Everyman. She ignored it for the moment – she had already read it. He continued. “They’re promising a story like that one every day this week! Your ‘heroes’ are a disgrace. They were a farce when you brought them to my attention after the Papa Zombie incident, and they’re even worse now!”

Director Balisong stayed calm and let the Mayor have his rant. She knew he wasn’t ranting at her but rather his own frustrations. Operation Overlord took a major setback when the US Government drafted the Centurions and took them from the city. The clock was ticking and he was exasperated. He continued his tirade for several minutes. She casually picked up the Everyman and eyed the story once more. The other gossip shared a similar story, though the Everyman’s was the most comprehensive.

The front page showed a clear image of the hero Victor Valenzuela swinging through the city, brandishing a TecateĀ® beer while carrying an injured civilian. It was an impressive image, and in other circumstances could’ve been a great PR shot for TecateĀ®. According to the article however, it was damning. The headline read “‘S’ IS NOT FOR SOBER” and the article claimed this image plus many others (seen inside), combined with numerous accounts of his actions at and after Jake Thompson‘s funeral, demonstrated the hero had a clear drinking problem. It was sensationalist news – gossip and out of context images paired with an isolated incident and rhetoric to fuel what was clearly a deliberate smear campaign.

“…I never should have let you talk me into making them Centurions,” the Mayor finally concluded. He looked at her with a mixture of anger and tiredness. There was so much to do, so little time left, and so many hurdles.

“With all due respect sir,” she calmly stated, “this is nonsense. These gossip papers are hardly reputable news sources. The damage control on this is simple, and if spun right would only elevate this hero. You’ve seen the latest polls of public opinion regarding S.A.V.I.O.R.. The public is responding well to them. The Centurions have been considered ‘too soft’ for years now. Harder edge heroes will have harder edges, and we’re nor unprepared for them. Surely you can’t deny that.” There was more to it than that of course, but she was trying to put it in a language he could identify with. Political, always political. Speak in his language to disarm him and then have a productive conversation. It was rote by now.

“This is just ‘day one,’ Anja,” he said to her. “If you can’t get ahead of this it may destroy them, and both of us in the process. Then there’d be no opposing the Council of Industry anymore, or holding off Federal intervention, and more importantly there’d be no saving the city.”

Balisong regarded the Mayor with understanding. This was the conversation they needed to have. “I know sir. I’ve already set officers to carefully investigate the ‘anonymous sources’ Wasswegass cited in his article. There are images in here that were clearly lifted from security cameras and information that was not privvy to the public. Aldo Wassergass, the editor and publisher of the Everyman, is many things – a thug, a bully, a sleazeball, and a slippery criminal. But no-one could ever accuse him of being a good investigator. He was obviously given this information. We just need to find out by who and why.”

“Just stay on top of it,” Mayor Zardona sighed. He sat down, spent. For every crisis solved there were always a dozen more. “Tell me how things are going in the city today. We have so many people from out of town for the Eclipse. Hopefully we can get through just this one day without a major incident.”

She cleared her throat. “Well S.A.V.I.O.R. has split up across the city, to cover areas of Midtown, Brisby, and The Hill. We’re working with other teams to have as much coverage as we can today. The group of S.A.V.I.O.R. patrolling The Hill… let me see…” She checked on her tablet the current roster. “It’s The Gryphon, Black Phantom, Hank, Miss Amazing, and their new recruit Quazi. The five of them just interrupted a robbery by members of Kagemusha Ryuujin out in Battenburg Heights. Oh, that reminds me – we need to hire a psychologist who’s familiar with psychic trauma for the team.”

“Fine, fine. Get what you need. In fact,” Zardona said with a look of sudden inspiration, “make the hiring of this person public knowledge, so the people can see that we’re already addressing the concerns these papers are bringing up. Lord knows what else we’ll see through the rest of the week. This could help us in getting a step ahead.”

Suppressing a small smile, Director Balisong simply nodded. “I’ll get right on that sir.”

“Anything else notable happening out there right now?”

“Just a small protest from members of the Church of Reflections. They believe they’re still allowed to have their gathering in Century Park. We’ve turned most of them away but they’ve returned with more and are protesting. It’s stayed non-violent and we expect it to sort itself out once the eclipse is over.”

“Even after their leaders were exposed and their church disbanded as a fraud cult, they’re still trying to maintain it?”

“People want something to believe in, no matter how flawed it is,” she responded. “That’s also what I think S.A.V.I.O.R. can be to this city.”

“All right, I get it,” he told her. He stood back up and looked out of his window at the parts of the city he could see from here. The eclipse was starting, but it would be a little while before it became noticeable. “Just keep me updated. See if you can find out what’s in store for the rest of week before it’s printed and arrives at my door.”

“Yes sir,” she said as she turned around and left.

2 Replies to “Update to the Mayor”

  1. This is great! I see lots of positives and things to grow upon. There will always be naysayers and we will get stuff wrong. However, we will get up dust ourselves off and go at it again.

  2. At least it is now just “problem drinking” and not alcoholism! Nice to see that Balisong knows how to handle the question- know that the source is crap and sensationalized, and put it down as BS.

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