Ridgefield Adeline, Dakila, Vampire. Isn't sign of racism. Supernaturalism?


Well this was coming together. Not without some stress and bumps in the road, but by almost complete accident Tiffer found himself with a retinue of advisors, unofficial and otherwise, who were to varying degree well poised to keep him better informed about the goings on of the county and how to more effectively police the supernatural elements therein. It seemed easiest to schedule the meeting for a night he and Joaquin were already in the precinct. Dakila was intimately familiar and even Adeline had been before. As well it was the best option for ensuring privacy.

The briefing room seemed better than his office. Mostly because it would give the other three more room to spread out. He wasn't exactly clear on the instinctive relations between vampire and werewolf, but treading carefully seemed wiser than not.

He wasn't going to force Joaquin to sit and wait with him for the others to arrive, leaving the man to his work. But he was himself pacing through the space, up and down between the rows of chairs. He didn't exactly have a presentation ready, but it felt important to get this ball rolling. Everything he'd learned in the last several nights...

Fuck. It was fine. He could deal with this. And they could help.
Joaquin really only knew he was asked to be here. His life had become monotonous routine: home, car, work, car, home, sleep. Axel had moved out or... disappeared, or something. He wasn't inclined to chase down a jaguar shifter. He still hadn't told his sister anything. If anything, he was sort of a husk of his former self. Hard to feel in touch with the guy who used to go out partying and meeting people. He was still on constant watch anyway, so what was the point of daring to?

Anyway. Joaquin waited on his cue.
There was a wariness, just being here when Heartgrove was here.

Maybe if Dakila had more direct experience with vampires this would have been easier in some ways. Or at least he might have been better equipped on knowing what might be coming tonight. All he could do was handle himself and hope that a new vampire wasn't in great danger of becoming a serious problem. Chose to trust Tiffer to whatever this was.

After his own shift had ended he had gone off to feed himself, certain he didn't want to be starving before this... conversation. And in the end that was the best he could do for himself before he entered the briefing room with the quiet sort of subtlety that an unusual hour meeting felt like it warranted.

Truly, he did try to not look so grim about it.

"Sir." The greeting was bone-deep reflex.


Adeline required some... well. Direction to the briefing room from reception downstairs.

When she did appear, it was with a respectable dose of trepidation. Understanding that while yes, she was extraordinary like a shifter or Vampire might be, she had very little in common with any of them beyond that. That was also without stating the obvious fact which was that she wasn’t police, but an outsider to them.

She might as well have been press.

Courtesy would be due. For the time being, she followed the other man in with a slightly uncertain smile.
Good, the both of them, one right after the other. Punctual. Not his favorite quality in either, but one he appreciated all the same.

"Tomás. Doctor." He didn't smile, but his expression wasn't unwelcoming. Professional. They weren't here socially. He gestured between them. "Detective Dakila Tomás, Doctor Adeline Yan Zhu." A simple introduction. He'd considered tacking on "the werewolf," but it seemed somehow crass. They could clarify that later.

"Please, take whichever seats you like." There were ample options. He moved toward them, but really only because the door they'd entered through lay at the front of the room where he meant to stand. "Heartgrove should be in shortly."

Likely he'd heard the other two enter. Tiffer would give him a minute or two to join them before going to find him if he did not.
A text would have been fine. But as it stood, he didn't need it. He heard his name, and that was enough to summon him.

There were some whispers of discontent that he was aware of. Some change in the air around him from his co-workers. He was fairly sure it had to do with him, but.

He was pretty sure it was a them problem. He'd never done anything more but his work, anyway.

Arriving with a nod of greeting, his eyes were drawn to the woman in the room first. He'd fed tonight from a bag, of course, so he wasn't ravenous. But it seemed like maybe there was some kind of perfume she wore, or.

Anyway, it was peppered in with the unpleasant smell of dog. That, he pinned on Tomas, who also held an uncomfortable air around him.

Saying nothing, he took a seat.
Just behind him... human. Dakila certainly had wary feelings about that as well, uncertain what Tiffer was getting at. He was choosing to trust the man, believing him to be honorable and reliable--and not likely to do anything that would upset the delicate situation Dakila was in. Well, at least not maliciously. In ignorance, though...?

He turned back to the woman, his interest in her much more human than wolf. "Doctor," he greeted, his smile brief, polite, but not at all strained. Outside of the usual brand of 'very tired' that crept up on him after work hours nearly always.

A nod to Tiffer and Dakila went to take the seat at the front, but furthest from the door.

Just enough time for him to settle so that when Heartgrove walked through the door... He felt the wolf jolt with curiosity. This was more than a scent in passing. This was a mostly unfamiliar creature walking like a beacon into the room. I could take him, the implied words of the feeling of the wolf, unafraid and dangerously prepared to defend all the rest in the room. It paid to be in control, though--no flash of green, no change in his face other than to watch the man enter.

It was very strange, to look at someone who hadn't been a vampire... and now was. It was some sort of tragic that Dakila couldn't quite place right then.
”A pleasure, Detective Tomás,” Adeline returned politely, providing the slightest dip of her head to the man.

Finding a place somewhere towards the centre of the room, Adeline sat between Vampire and shifter—though who was who, she couldn’t say. She would smile fleetingly at the blonde from afar, though when her eyes fixed on Chief Tiffer they were a shade or two darker.

Her gut pulled her in either direction. That at least confirmed that neither man was a phoney, so Adeline didn’t hold the sense out for any longer than needed.
He maybe should've waited til all three were present for introductions because it felt that little bit awkward to repeat Adeline's full name and honorific. But she'd earned it, damnit, and he had hopes that the four of them would meet semi-regularly, so he wanted to get this right.

"Detective Joaquin Heartgrove, Doctor Adeline Yan Zhu." Little gestures between them. The wolf and vampire were already familiar with each other.

Speaking of, there was no expectation he'd need them, but as was pretty customary at this point, Tiffer had a silver-loaded pistol in a shoulder holster beneath his jacket and the small police revolver at the small of his back. He really didn't leave the motel much without them, even though he'd yet to need either. How foolish and tragic it would ever be if he did and was bereft of them.

"To begin, I should explain that Doctor Zhu has accepted a position as a consultant on matters supernatural. Specifically dealing with these so-called psychics that have been cropping up over the year. I have full confidence in her discretion, so please don't hesitate to discuss things in her presence you're willing to in mine."

Moving to stand behind the small podium at the front, he leaned his forearms upon it. "I think between the three of you, we have an unprecedented opportunity to understand and protect the people of Ridgefield County." He looked to each of the three in turn. "All of them."
Oh. A doctor. He smiled back to her.

He listened as Tiffer dove into it. Psychics that were cropping up over a year? A year, Tiffer? He slid his gaze to her briefly, wondering if she'd only been at this a year. It had been longer, for him. Much.

The mission statement did make him a little unsure. What could he offer, a newly minted, largely under lock and key vampire officer?

Joaquin offered a nod anyway, certain it was largely for the other two.
Settled in, and from the sounds of it, the Chief had made himself a crew.

Smart, actually, if a little troubling for the werewolf in the room. It was going to be difficult to measure necessary information with vital secret. Still, he found himself not upset by this. Curious about the doctor, of course, but understanding the answer he got. Would anyone like this? No, he doubted it, but if Tiffer thought the woman wasn't a potential leak, he'd have to trust that. What choice did he have? Putting in his heels would not be a good look for something he considered hardly worth it.

If she was here, good chance she knew exactly what was up already, anyway. The valve was already open.

So. As Tiffer preceded with what was, in a sense, a mission statement, Dakila found himself something other than mum. Arms across his chest as he sat at his spot, he spoke up, "Wouldn't still be here if I weren't with you on that, sir. But if you don't mind my asking..." His gaze went to the woman in the room. Addressed her directly, "What are your qualifications for dealing with psychics?"

He could assume, but he hated to when he could have the straight answers.
It was uncomfortable: having attention placed on her so soon when she hadn’t asked for it. As wary of the detective as he was of her, Adeline would answer without any desire to dazzle, though the question did stump her for half a second.


“None, truthfully.” Formally? No network into the Psychic world, and no interest in it either. “Other than that I am one myself. My, ah...” Unable to discern the Vampire in the room, Adeline glanced between both officers. ”Ability lends itself to fire.”
None, truthfully. Tiffer had seen this answer coming the moment Dakila's question washed over the room. He might have shown a subtle wince in the space between if he hadn't been in boss mode. As it was his neutral expression hid some desire to cram the words back into the man's mouth, but it was not an impulse he'd indulge. And was a little annoyed with himself for having.

"Doctor Zhu," he said instead, clarifying to his detectives and perhaps the woman herself why he'd included her. It wasn't as simple a matter as the other two. "Is a psychiatrist with the Etheridge Mental Health Clinic in Reignhart. I originally contacted her to see about facilitating better mental health checks and resources for the task force. She revealed her abilities to me at our first meeting, and I've since found great value in her insights." And maybe she'd be less likely to refute that with an audience. >:[

"Prior to your change"—he motioned to Joaquin—"and your confession"—to Dakila—"hers was the only supernatural perspective to which I had ready access." And she's offered to help me ferret out any others hiding in our ranks. He held onto that one for the moment. "She has experience living with this that goes more than a decade beyond the three of ours combined." However comparatively shallow next to the werewolf and vampire. He didn't include this qualifier either, suspecting Adeline would supply it in her own mind anyway if not aloud.

"Questions and concerns are welcome, if there are any more at this point."

Fire, Tiffer? Fire. The thing that could ash him in a fucking instant. As if their guns weren't enough, he had a psychic who could do the work if Joaquin so much as stepped out of line.

And so it ticked in his head as he stayed utterly, statue still, not even breathing.

Tiffer and his guns. This freshly outed werewolf. And this fire wielding psychic. All threats, all threats. "More than a decade?" He'd been a psychic more than a decade, damn near fifteen years now.

It wasn't jealousy. It was this feeling that even with no eyes on him, there were daggers pointed his way everywhere he went. Flaming daggers.

Joaquin's eyes were red, though he didn't know it. Some time around when Tiffer hit his last wordy word, all the phones in the room suddenly began sounding off to the tune of whatever alarm each owner woke up to in the morning.

It wasn't intentional. It was just how he was feeling.
None, she claimed, other than being a psychic herself. Dakila didn't quite think far enough into it to realize what a threat that might feel to a vampire, and as such he gave Tiffer his attention as he elaborated. He found himself oddly reassured by the woman's decision not to talk herself up, even in the face of what Tiffer clearly thought of her. Very highly. A woman come into his confidence well before now.

It was good enough for Dakila, at least for now. His concerns weren't really anything that any amount of heavy qualification could fix.

"I--" Dakila went to say, when suddenly the room was alive with bursts of noise. His own alarm in his jacket pocket, its default noise unfamiliar when it combined with the cacophony of everyone else's. The slight jump curled his fingers into his arms and reflex had him reaching to turn it off, even as he had no idea what had just happened. The noise a little much, uncomfortable to sensitive ears as the wolf in his mind bristled privately.

Thankfully, thankfully just privately.

Checking the screen as if they were all getting some emergency alert at once, his brow crinkled in confusion as he tried to shut it off and shut it up.
Comfort decreased as the spotlight increased. Adeline had never been particularly fond of introductions with an audience, and it was quite a resumé Chief Tiffer built for her in a matter of a minute. The cover letter waned in comparison.

Asked again, however, and she would’ve said the same thing.

It was when the first detective began replying that the room burst alive with noise. His own shock caused Adeline’s gaze to immediately travel to Detective Heartgrove, and it told her two things. One, he was the Vampire here. Two, he didn’t need to speak in order to make his feelings on her known.

She smiled again in the face of it, expression brief as her brows rose. Then to the mobile in her handbag, which she‘d mostly certainly silenced before coming in here. She silenced it again.

The reason for Chief Tiffer’s desperation became quite clear. What on earth was going on?
Christ, what the fu-

Hand going to his own inner jacket pocket, eyes nevertheless jumped between the three supernaturals. Dakila who'd had his attention, response cut off by the discordant blaring, staring at his own presented phone and looking perplexed. Adeline, efficiently silencing hers with her own gaze trained on...

"Heartgrove?" he voiced as he managed to cut out his device's contributions. It had been a few nights since the poorly understood ability had acted up in such a disruptive way. Patience remained the best tack, but he was not without some apprehension this could be the harbinger of other control slips. "Is everything all right?"
Didn't appreciate being called out. Felt sort of unfair about it. Felt like the answer was fairly obvious if Tiffer was going the overly perceptive route. Fire wasn't a joke. A psychic with fire seated right next to him without any sort of warning wasn't a joke.

"Nothing, sir."

And he hoped for the sake of everyone in the room, most especially himself, that it would be left at that.
What the fuck was Heartgrove capable of?

It was only through the movement of attention from the other two that Dakila was able to conclude that this was the younger man's doing. Having managed to silence his alarm--and not throw the phone across the room in a fit of lupine protest--he pocketed it and looked down the way towards the vampire in the room. Tiffer was questioning him, and Heartgrove seemed to want to play it off...

Nothing. Didn't feel like nothing. But Tiffer seemed to understand this a lot better than Dakila could, and he had to trust the man wasn't out of his depth in having them all here. A human man in charge of a trio of not-as-human individuals. It was almost funny if you boiled it down to the barest bits, but Dakila felt some real concern. If things went badly, what was he prepared to do here?

Didn't let himself dwell on it, didn't let himself create tension. Not worth the risk for himself or anyone here, and so he focused on clearing his head of the ringing noises that had rattled their calm. It was the man behind the podium that he chose to focus on as such, certain to follow his lead here.

Maybe it really was nothing.
A quizzical brow couldn’t help but twitch at the answer. Nothing was alright? No, unlikely, perhaps she was misunderstanding.

Adeline intertwined her fingers together, keeping her gaze trained on the two individuals in question. Detective Tomás remained silent. As did she.
Hmm. "[Single word] sir" was reasonably consistent with most of what Joaquin said to him. Tiffer didn't particularly like this fact, not in the present circumstance. It did bring to mind all the ways it could go wrong, but that... was nothing new either. Waiting a beat or two longer, eyes on the vampire to see if he'd reconsider, if there was in fact something more to this than an errant power surge, he eventually gave a soft nod.

Gaze roamed across the three again. Where had he been? "So, questions? Concerns? Tomás, I think you were about to say something."
Petty fit thrown and ultimately unchallenged. Now he could feel a little private bit of guilt for himself, but in the end it was preferable to causing some sort of scene.

Still, he was ultimately pinpointed on the psychic next to him. Was she in control? Was she always in control? Did she ever lose her hold on her ability? And if it came his way, would it be his fault if he reacted — worse, if he fled after reacting?

He was glad for the ability to stop breathing, because it kept all their scents from pounding away at him. There was still the unearthly feeling of that presence, and he didn't understand it. Was it a feeling shifters gave off? He realized he'd felt it around Axel too, now.

The pounding of their three hearts was loud in this tiny room. He sought to drown it out by warbling it, as if they were an oar whirring through water. For himself, mostly, but perhaps it would end up being audible to the other one with supernatural hearing as well, as the false sound was very low.

As for the other two, if they wanted, they might have seen the telltale red of his eyes that he was decidedly up to something.

Tame as it was this time.
They moved on and Dakila found some fashion of relief in that. Weird as it was, much as he didn't understand it, if Tiffer wasn't going to try and paint the picture for him right now, he could wait.

But then the attention was back on him, and he found he... didn't really remember what he'd been about to say. But still, there was plenty to be brought up, plenty of questions. He shook his head gently. "I don't really have any concerns at the moment," none he was willing to air with anyone other than Tiffer, anyway, "But I was wondering if you'd brought us here with a broad goal in mind, or a more specific one for the night."

Was this simply some formation? Some attempt at connecting to understand? Or was there some problem they needed to move on immediately?

Dakila was a little worried about the later, still having not had much time to really speak at any length about his experiences as a werewolf with Tiffer. There was always the anticipation of the man wanting too much from him up front.

There was something there, though, in the background. Some low white noise that he didn't consciously pick up on, but that kept the wolf perked up.
And so they seemed to carry on. At least Detective Tomás and Chief Tiffer did. Detective Heartgrove... well. He was present but he didn’t look entirely present, and those bloodshot irises she caught a glimpse of inwardly discomposed her.

She readjusted as Detective Tomás answered. Perhaps the blonde would feel her nerves. Perhaps not. She chose to pay more attention to the conversation at hand, keeping the threat of the Vampire at the back of her mind.

After all, Adeline was fully aware of whose blood tasted best to them.
Nothing from Adeline, but he wasn't surprised to find her quieter here than at their private meetings. Two unfamiliar people, each of a little known and undeniably dangerous persuasion, and both police detectives on top of it. So more of the same. The response fit his growing understanding of her.

Similar tale with Joaquin. The eyes were noted after a few moments, but... Well, as long as kept himself to shifting eye colors and the occasional ringtone assault.

There was very little concern there between them, despite his understanding of her lethality to the vampire in particular. Adeline had displayed any sign of her power to him once. When he'd asked her too. And that hadn't even included an open flame. Her level of control didn't crack the top twenty things he was concerned about right now.

Attention remained primarily on Dakila, absorbing his words. Tiffer was, he supposed, encouraged that no one had concerns to voice, but he suspected it was more no one wanted to voice their concerns. "Primarily I wanted us all to meet. You all to meet. I also, at this time, feel that it's important to parley these new avenues of intel into securing the task force. Once our own house is in order, we can more readily turn our gaze outward where it should be."

Gesturing to the only noncop among them, he explained. "Doctor Zhu has offered her services in screening our personnel for psychics. I'm less concerned about this than other things, but it would be good to know. I understand the two of you"—a nod to either detective—"Can identify others of your own or each other's kind. I want to institute regular checks, primarily a simple silver test at the onset of every shift, but I'll also be relying on all of you to inform me of anything you become aware of."
He was really doing his best not to be jumpy. The level of control he needed to place on himself at all times seemed to take enough of his attention that it could be considered exhausting, if it wasn't for the fact that he seemed to never tire as he once did.

Physically, anyway. Mental exhaustion was a whole other beast.

She moved just the slightest and he glanced to her before retraining his gaze ahead. Nothing, Joaquin. Nothing.

Tiffer wanting to... forcibly out his entire police force was certainly something. He could understand it. And also, he could understand something else that felt wrong about it. Besides that, when Tiffer said "anything," did he mean the general populace as well?

He thought of Axel in particular, and the man's identity he was- no, had been protecting, all this time. Didn't want to out him, did he? But a person in the street, did he care about them as much? Maybe only their reaction.

He supposed he was enough of a soldier to simply nod his head and compartmentalize his uncertainty. Joaquin was not here to make more waves. He was intrinsically aware of his place amongst the others here tonight, and it was not a kind one. Not a human, and not trustworthy, and not very experienced as a vampire, and easily vanquished.

Bit mentally exhausting. He mostly wanted to escape this room, and morals otherwise could wait.
Meet. Get things--expectations, procedures, intentions--in order. Dakila could understand as much, and was actually grateful for it, so he could start to lay down his own boundaries. There were some, no doubt. The pursuit of criminal behavior and safety for all did not require him to detail every facet. Perhaps Tiffer would disagree, but... Dakila would not sell everyone out for the mere sake of hoarded information.

He wasn't a spy, and he wasn't anyone's enemy.

Not thinking outside these walls that they inhabited as a force, it was easy for Dakila to nod in agreement to what Tiffer said. As much as he had no intention of being some terror watchdog here, the facts stood... "I think weekly checks, frequent personnel interviews, and up-front screening should be required, myself. Not to be the hypocrite, but I got away with it a good deal longer than I sometimes expected to."

Which... he wasn't sure what that said. He didn't feel like the STF had been careless, exactly, but they had trusted him. Obviously... trust didn't go forever. They were just lucky, maybe, that he was who he was. Him and not someone else snapped up by Alina Sinclair. In a way he was grateful she had never tried to use him against the force.

"As Heartgrove and I are the only ones of vampire or shifter persuasion at the moment, I imagine anyone coming in would either know exactly what they're getting into already and should be prepared to be up front about it if that's the department's expectations, or else they'll be brand new, in which case I personally recommend a great deal of leave at best, especially for a shifter."

This he said... partially because he did not mean to insult the new vampire in the room, but also because he knew a new were's limits far better than a new vampire. Did they even have the same sort of stress risks?

Well. Maybe. Heartgrove was already proving a little fiddly, but Dakila continued to try and trust Tiffer's decisions.
A lot of language the psychiatrist wasn’t acquainted with hearing. A lot of personal boundaries to be crossed. She believed it was absolutely within the STF’s jurisdiction and right to know, of course, who was what within their team. The fact that it wasn’t already common knowledge was baffling. Yet as it stood, surveillance wasn’t something she’d ever helped exercise... not in the proposed format.

It didn’t very much help that Adeline hadn’t known that Chief Tiffer had formally accepted her offer until, well. This moment. Both detectives appeared to take it in without so much as a glance her way, but she couldn’t say what they’d go home thinking. Her, a stranger, offering to snitch on their colleagues.

At least it hadn’t been revealed that she could screen them as well.

She cleared her throat after Detective Tomás spoke, brows melting down. ”Sorry, silver?” Adeline asked, unable to piece it together.
Yes, Dakila had gotten away with it for too long. It had been almost unthinkable before. Never again. The guard was up now.

"I concur," he nodded to the wolf before looking to Adeline. "All shifters, as far as we know"—a glance back to Dakila here—"share an acute allergy to silver. It irritates their skin on contact, severely in its pure form. A safe but revealing alloy is standard issue and used to positively ID suspects."

Tiffer had already clocked three mistakes on his part going into this meeting. He really wasn't getting enough sleep. "I'll get you a copy of our knowledge base before you leave tonight." Then she at least could be up to speed with the rest of them. He should have seen to it earlier. Had meant to. Dammit.

Attention returned to Dakila. "Tomás, I want you to take point on devising the procedures for these checks. I have seen how easily control can slip for new shifters. You evaded the old, lax system; you know how it could be done." He'd hardly be left to run the entire thing solely; that wasn't his job. Still, Tiffer understood the trust he was placing in Dakila here. He hoped that was apparent to the man himself as well.
For his part, Joaquin only listened. And wondered.

Wondered about things that Axel had told him. About groups and such. Was Tomás one of those shifters that ran in groups?

Hmm. It would be interesting to see how far his "share anything" ran with the other detective.

... What was Joaquin's point here, though? He'd hardly run into any other vampires before. Or. Maybe not enough to know what he was even supposed to be looking for.

Maybe just someone without a heartbeat.
A small nod to the matter of silver. The sort of thing that every were in his experience was warned about up front so as to not get a very nasty surprise. He remained quietly grateful that the task force had seen fit to not use pure silver rings from the get-go. It could not have ended well. It still might not end well, to identify the wrong type of shifter in what might have otherwise been a civil encounter.

Back to him, though. He heard the task put before him and he did not relish it. But if he wasn't the one to do it, someone else would, and he felt like it was safer left in his hands. Both safe and certain--that was what they needed as far as screening went. No nasty surprises for anyone.

"I can put together an initial plan and get it to you soon," he said, glad, at least, that it wouldn't somehow require him, personally, standing at the front door greeting everyone every day. There were simpler ways. And truly, he was absolutely certain that just knowing there were these controls in place and knowing that he and Heartgrove were here at all would deter anyone with half a brain from testing them.
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