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Posts : 2317 Join date : 2017-10-31 Age : 25 Location : , location, location
Subject: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:22 pm
Maps and papers were strewn about the room as a small woman paced back and forth among the messy chaos, trying to make order of it in physical space and in her mind. Susan had made all the necessary preparations to ensure this and she was already inclined to think strategically. Sheepishly she had to sneak to the cafeteria to grab more coffee without being seen by anyone she would recognize. Even more sheepishly she smuggled out a couple donuts while she was there. With the lecture taking precedence over breakfast and speaking to the Prince taking precedence over literally everything else she found herself starving. Ordinarily this would be something she would ignore but she had to be in a proper mindset for that night. The night of the Full Moon. And hunger could cause discomfort or distracting thoughts which could potentially cause problems.
Most problematic of her worries however were her own social faux pas. After having spoken to the Prince and... lying to him... she found herself needing the annex once more. So she would do what she was gifted at and both strategize and fly under the radar, praying he did not call upon her nor enter the classroom she had chosen to do this work within. After double-checking the schedule it should have been free for the day and it was so out of the way that the odds of anyone walking in on her weren't likely. Which was good because she did not wish to explain what she was doing essentially hiding from her Captain. But the preparations continued. She was already wearing her tactical equipment sans her cap to enter her more strategical zen, had already printed off all the maps she needed long before today, and had already sent a notice to the Cadets urging them to be diligent and prepare for more information. Maria would be one who would have gotten the text message but she did not answer after that, instead throwing herself into her maps and likely scenarios. She sipped from her cup of coffee as she peacefully eyed over the possible patrol path, content in the silence being this far in the annex brought.
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:27 am
What a terrible night for a patrol.
Maria wasn't looking forward to the next nightfall. It was already common sense that Psyche-Terrorists and demons tended to be more active during this time of day. But when the full moon finally coasts by in the sky, things get more ridiculously dangerous. There was something about the moon that caused a kind of frenzy in all demonic entities filling the world. It was really strange, but it was information truly vital for tonight's task. Especially when the newcomers were joining them and this bode truly ill for everyone involved with the implications setting by the descending horizon. Which was precisely why the Cadet was back in Class Zero to make her own preparations as well. She was glad that at least someone was willing to make do with the time they had left.
Susan would hear a knock against the wooden door before noticing someone opening it.
"Good afternoon. I see you're hard at work, Susan. Thank you for sending the text to the Cadets. Can I join you? I'm not bothering you, am I?"
It was complicated work but it was quiet, solitary, and challenging, which Susan preferred. She had one of her military books laid out in front of her so she could cross-reference the optimal approaches to their marks, nevermind figuring out what their objectives were. She likened it to one of her war games although much, much more important. When the knock at the door came the skittish woman held her breath as her heartbeat pulsed faster, hoping beyond hope that it wasn't who she thought it may be.
......and it wasn't. She sighed softly.
"Good afternoon, Maria," she spoke evenly, turning back to her maps so she could multitask. "It was no trouble at all, I feel as if we should be patrolling tonight despite or rather because of the increase in demonic activity. The odds of attack on civilians are highest tonight and we need to be present to prevent some. That and I would rather arrange a patrol to be made than to have one of the new recruits suddenly decide that they're tough enough and get themselves killed, I have a Risk Management matrix I may want you to look over later." Susan got on straight to business as the cogs in her head turned about tonight's excursion. She didn't feel the need to answer if Maria was bothering her or not, she would have told her to give her privacy or bluntly to leave her alone if she was.
The short woman stood back to eye her work and to sip her coffee. She would nudge the plate of donuts she had "strategically acquired" closer to Maria as well as her thermos if she would like either. The businesswoman pushed her cap further up her head. "Mmnnffff... I wish I knew where these things were spawning from, we have too large of a presence in populated areas. They need to be spilling in from somewhere... condemned buildings, maybe. ...if that were true we could solve that problem by turning them into subsidized housing, which will make sure these buildings are occupied and put a dent in the homeless problem from all the immigrants. Yes, yes that could work..." Susan would absentmindedly scribble SUBSIDIZED HOUSING onto the blackboard, planning and coordinating until she recognized that Maria was there and likely wanted something. How she found her was a mystery, yet not one for long. ".....are you here for something, Maria? I'm sorry, I do not have the briefing for this patrol finished yet, I am still working on it."
"By all means, Susan. I'm looking forward to it." Maria was intrigued by all of these preparations strewn around the room as she entered inside. All of this planning and hard work was evident even to the most untrained eye, but she truly appreciated its scope and its purpose. Better yet, the ones making the plans was also not underestimating the threatening full moon. However, it felt rather intimidating to her, a mere musclebound and physical Cadet, to walk into the more tactical side of the job with the lack of any advanced tactical experience. She felt more of a pre-historic Neanderthal slowly walking into civilization. Indeed, this was what Maria needed--no, what the Cadets needed. And like an animal drawn to a morsel of food, she accepted the offering with a "Thanks".
Just as she began to nibble on one of the tasty treats, Maria carefully watched what Susan was doing. The Cadet quietly listened to absorb any information and any line of logic the office woman muttered and scribbled through the blackboard, it was fascinating. It never occurred to her to consider much about where the demons were coming from. Instead, she was fixated on how to destroy them on the field of battle like many of the Cadets. There was too much hot-blood going on in the ranks. It pounded and deafened the ears too much. Watching Susan work outside of the field hit this home.
By the time the tactician asked her, the Cadet was already opening her coffin on the floor before laying out a long white cloth and beginning to disassemble her Demon Weapon. Inside the coffin, Susan would notice that besides the Forgotten weapon, there was a mass amount of ammunition that were being neatly stockpiled and ready for use. "Oh, no. I just wanted to find a good place to maintain my weapon. Otherwise, I would have too many eyes on me. Please, don't mind me and take the time you need. I'm actually learning a lot from watching you, Susan."
Maria glanced back at the chalkboard. The words "subsidized housing" on the black surface made her have a single thought pop in her head. "Have you considered the underground systems in the city? I remember the Psyche-Terrorists Albrecht was chasing tried to escape through it before."
[font=Times New Roman][color=#ff3300]Sister Louise Dialogue[/color][/font]
Posts : 2317 Join date : 2017-10-31 Age : 25 Location : , location, location
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:54 am
In most circumstances the short woman would feel uncomfortable with someone else's presence hovering over her and watching her work. More unfortunately unfinished work. Susan did not like people to see what she was coming up with before it was done, it lead to confusion. If something needed to be revised she would hear rebuts and complaints and I thought you saids that would grate on her sanity. Though Maria was not most people, one of few she found pleasant in fact. Someone who took these things as seriously as herself and didn't buy in to the "warrior culture" that was ever present despite being accomplished in that area. That put friction to her nerves too. Everyone was concerned with who was the strongest and best fighter, the top dog, no one stopped to consider that the most powerful force was 100% useless when aimed in the wrong direction. And that was her self-assigned directive: prudence above power.
Susan halted for a moment to pick up one of the (rare) blank sheets of paper littering the desk and stared at it for a moment or two, before pressing her fingers to it and generating a document. She sought to toss it to Maria but paper was not as nearly aerodynamic as advertised and it rippled through the air before sailing down underneath the desk. With a frown Susan would rummage to grab it and hand it to the nun like a normal person. "It's rather high and there are a lot of moving parts involved... but following these steps are important, I believe," The document was reminiscent of the common-sense approach Maria had taken when they had gone jogging the other day, though it was drawn out line by line.
Risk: Cadets will be injured during the Full Moon. / Mitigation: Forewarn Cadets ahead of time, label large threats, be cognizant of capabilities, bring first aid, etc.
Risk: Cadets will become separated. / Mitigation: Combat doctrine will rely on the squad leader to keep Cadets together, prioritizing safety over momentary advantage. A distress signal will be established.
...and it went on like that for several items. The coffin had caught a raised eyebrow from Susan, seeing as it was filled to the brim with bullets and her own heavy weapon. She couldn't imagine how she managed to become as strong as she was, it was frankly inhuman. It must have weighed more than she did and Maria could tote it around without even looking inconvenienced. "Then we're here for the same reasons," she smiled, "I hadn't really desired to be bothered while I strategize, not by everyone at once anyway. It breaks my concentration. But a little company never hurt anyone, it's the ulcer from long exposure that kills you." She drolled flatly and rolled her eyes, it was no large surprise that she wasn't the most social person and, on rare occasions, she would joke about it. Susan returned to eyeing her maps.
"That is very good," she began in a lighter tone, "I'm glad that someone can take this as seriously as I am. Admittedly it can be very difficult and stressful, and I feel as if I don't do it no one else will. Cross-training is very important, I can teach you if you like but it's much more difficult than combat. It's a philosophy and state of mind you must adhere to and there are certain critical thinking skills that can't be taught on their own... although it is a repeatable process and there are steps involved." She could impart what she knew but she couldn't teach how she was able to come up with things with any confidence, not her basic toolset. It was the way she thought and that knowledge was difficult to impart. It had taken her a lifetime of study to be able to think and implement solutions as she did, as well as natural inclination, she could only give someone else the structure and hope they did the same by it.
"I have, unfortunately," she began, "Truth be told there's not much we can do about it. We can't close off the sewer systems by locking them down because they'll find a way in because I personally know something as simple as a Soulbound weapon will grant access. We can't segment them off or risk flooding in vital areas, this latest rainstorm is testament to that. We can't spare manpower to patrol the sewers on a maybe and we can't make them impassible or maintenance workers can't enter and do vital work, the closest solution I have is wire fencing but that won't stop anything, not even thugs and degenerates... unless... we implement a lattice work of piping in certain cross sections... Yes, that won't stop anything either but we could use water outages to track things block by block... although... this would cost a great deal of money, take a great deal of time, and leave the sewers open for extensive damage... not very ideal in the long run, no..." Susan was more speaking aloud and working out her idea than she was Maria, rubbing her chin in thought. Again, she returned to her maps.
"The best thing I can do I have already done. I have requisitioned the Board of Architecture and the City Sanitation Department for a map of the sewer systems, which I will overlay with our current maps when I get them in likely 2 weeks. If we can't do anything about it we can still be cognizant of the routes available to our enemy. Sometimes knowledge is good enough." Susan shifted to the blackboard as she spoke and wrote down several more pieces as she spoke among the multitude of other things on the blackboard, outlining exactly what she has spoken about and the courses of action with Xs and check marks. It would join the confusing hodge podge of other information she kept on the board, including a checklist for the nightly patrol, a personal checklist reminding her of what she had to do (eating included, BRING WATER was double-underlined), and curiously enough INTERDIMENSIONAL??? was circled. As for the sewer system it was a necessary evil. They could not cover all that ground, not by themselves, and even if they could more demons could take refuge in that time.
"I haven't been able to speak to Cadet Frost about any report yet, I was hoping to snipe that new recruit while I had the chance. Cadet Fairweather, he's on my roster with me, I thought I would multitask. Do you happen to know anything more about it, Maria? It would personally help my investigation and profile of active enemy agents."
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:53 am
Despite how long it took for Susan to get that piece of paper in her hand, Maria accepted graciously while munching on her donut. She skimmed through the details before taking another bite from her treat. Thinking them over, she was liking all of these risk mitigation strategies. It was based on a series of common sense thinking and logic, which was also accompanied with some experience. It was rather heartening to see some of her concerns written out in paper and considered with possible solutions. She continued to scan through the notes and the incomplete proposals until her attention caused her to blink in confusion at the office lady's remark.
"I... Ulcers? What do you mean...?"
She tried to understand what Susan was getting at. How could one get an ulcer from exposure to others? Was... was that a joke? It was rather confusing for her, but instead the Cadet opted to give an awkward grin and a hasty "Um... Never mind" before looking back into the writing.
What Susan was writing so far was incomplete, but it was promising. Thinking back towards T, it made her spine shudder. How he was able to maneuver himself around felt too unreal. None of the Psyche-Terrorists had such cunning like he did. It was a clear sign that even the Cadets needed to ante up their game. But the problem was, how? The answer was here, in this room and in these notes. Maria smiled gently towards Susan in approval. "Seeing you addressing these issues like this, I think I'm feeling more at ease now. I'm glad we have you on our side, Susan. I like these rules of engagements. It's a good combination of the emphasis on survivability and mission completion. As of late, I was a little worried. Cadets have been doing well in their missions so far, but with all of these new people joining the ranks, I wasn't so sure if we could continue what we were doing without any necessary changes."
Though her smile drooped a little when words such as 'critical thinking' were being thrown around. She could think, or at least that's what she believed. But on the level of an actual tactician, that sounded like a tall order compared to being a devastating weapon of destruction on the enemy of the Government. At least that role had fewer requirements: be strong and be scary. Her smile turned uneasy, showing her reluctance. "It is out of my element. I will admit that. But like you said, someone has to play that role and I don't plan on forcing you to take all that responsibility. I may be slow at this, but we are comrades, after all. Right? I'll do my best to learn all that I can."
She saw how Susan tried to take command of the situation as needed and it was something to be appreciated how orderly and timely her decisions were. But Maria knew how stressful that can be, having to take up the weight of responsibility for the lives of people who trust you. A leader needed to be a smooth-working and well-oiled machine to perceive and to give necessary orders. That was the most difficult of any role in any society, especially with all the expectations and responsibilities that comes with it. But to force all of that on a Cadet who only recently joined? That was too much, too much.
"I see. That is a problem. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the sewers were the most common way of escaping for the Psyche-Terrorists or the demons, for that matter. If you can, maybe send them to her Highness, Serenity. Perhaps we can ask her to make an application to utilize feasibly and conveniently to map our way through them in an immediate situation such as Brother Frost. And as for him... He was rather angry one of them managed to get away despite... causing much collateral damage. Worse even, it appeared to be one of the Jest. The one he managed to capture, however, didn't seem to know much about his peer and didn't appear to be part of that group either. And we've yet to have any idea what relation they had with each other... Not that we know any time soon since someone attacked his prison convoy and wiped his mind clean."
[font=Times New Roman][color=#ff3300]Sister Louise Dialogue[/color][/font]
Posts : 2317 Join date : 2017-10-31 Age : 25 Location : , location, location
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:38 am
"It's nothing to worry about... as long as you don't get them." It wasn't any secret that Susan was not the most sociable of people. She didn't particularly dislike most people, however she wished they would leave her alone the majority of the time. She felt comfortable enough to joke about it, but indeed it was strange to consider that she had any sense of humor. Even a terrible one. The short woman merely shook her head and continued the office talk.
"Thank you, Maria. I am glad to be here. I was aware when I enlisted that I could provide a unique perspective. Simply put: people like me don't join the Cadets and I knew that walking in." Susan went about multi-tasking, glancing at her maps and marking on her chalkboard as her eyebrows furrowed. "I do know what you mean, there's a pervasive warrior culture within the ranks that permeates from all directions. I'm doing some thought exercises on how affects everything and the best approach to it." The short woman turned to lean against the desk, taking a small coffee break to unwind and speak about different plans. Further plans out. Plans for the Cadets as a whole.
"To be perfectly honest... I absolutely despise it. It's problematic and at times counter-intuitive to what we're attempting to do. There's this big... I'm not certain how to describe it, but what most Cadets care about above all are very simple truths that adhere to this warrior culture. They care about getting stronger and display it as a measure of worth, especially in combat effectiveness. There's a glaring lack of tact and even certain virtues that exist in this mindset work against us."
Susan sipped her coffee. She really did not enjoy certain attitudes that existed within Class Zero, but she would seek to resolve and align them. This could be done with process and strategy, and that was her grand plan. "Take... Lisa, for example," she began, "Before I start, no, I'm not singling anyone out but this is the best example. In the beginning of the assault on the television studio she first learned of the attack and sought to engage them herself. That was virtuous of her, showing initiative in righteousness, perhaps selflessness in protecting others from harm, a strong sense of justice, it wasn't morally wrong of her. But she forewent Teamwork which is our largest asset as Cadets, that we are an organization and frankly what she did was completely stupid."
Susan folded one arm over the other and gestured with her open palm, dipping her head to attend to her coffee even more. Again, no secret that she did not care for Lisa Lamecia and likely abundantly clear that she did not enjoy anyone without the capacity to think things through. "She was very fortunate not to be killed that night because of her sense of righteousness, despite how honorable a virtue that is. If she was any less skilled of a combatant she would have died before we could reach her, any more skilled and she would have reached T before we could rendezvous and he would have killed her. If you recall it took the combined might of everyone present to bring him down, Lisa included. Which we come to self-sacrifice. Again, noble, but if Lisa had been killed by T or on her way to him we similarly would have fallen to the same fate without her, as she was necessary to bring him down. At that point self-sacrifice as a virtue is no longer a noble or personal decision because it can get everyone around you killed."
It was harsh of her but Susan was enjoying the conversation, no one really spoke to her about what makes an entire situation tick. Mostly they were not as interested or did not understand or would get their feelings hurt. She'd admit she was being a little insulting, but if Lisa did not want to be criticized perhaps she would have used her brain at some point before doing something reckless. "I'll admit that I don't like it and yes, these problems will occur from time to time, which is why I am thinking about it. There are positive aspects to this point of view, it fosters competition, encourages growth, it can be a good foundation to work off of. I just wish I could find a way to... turn that into something more effective than it already is, incorporating it into something. I don't want to demonize anyone for it but some of it is unhealthy, and I realize that.
...I suppose much of this stems from a lack of failing to think more than one step into the future more than anything else. Perhaps a set of core values can be determined, we don't really align in that regard. I know for a fact I don't."
As much as it was that Susan had spoken, Maria had become an unwitting soundboard for her thought process. It wasn't really a complete thought, but her problem with the Cadets was that, for an organization, there was argument on how to accomplish things much of the time and what was the best plan of action. This didn't work, she would need to fix it if they were to continue being effective. "Very good. I am happy to hear that," she announced, setting her coffee back down and returning to working out her ideas. "Though I'm not certain to what degree that may help indeed it would. The way I think about things can't honestly be taught, but we need strong squad leaders who are more than capable of leading a team and this can accomplish most things as long as the objective is clear. You're very suited to this I know, and lead effectively." It sounded like a statement of fact but from Susan that was a compliment. Competence was everything to the businesswoman, if you were competent that should be recognized and you should be respected for it regardless of any other standing. "That's served us well up to this point as far as I've seen but we may have gotten too big for merely just that, and it will likely be necessary to add additional elements to how we approach situations. We depend on hierarchy, any effective organization does. Bad bosses, bad workers, you know how that goes. When I first enlisted it was a fairly simple and straight-forward, we had a team, team leader, and a supervising element. As we introduce more complexity and take away the supervising element things fall apart, in which we need a resolution. It happened in the T mission and it's happening at all levels, I can already see it unraveling. Cadets are misbehaving, we have a certain level of in-fighting. I believe this can be mitigated with another supervising element or stronger team leadership that adheres to the supervising element. What this has in common is clear and agreed-upon intent."
Susan had shifted from looking at her maps to drawing her ideas out on the blackboard, forming boxes that interconnected into a structure representing the highest leadership, squad leaders, and Cadets. "Simply put we need more available supervising elements, commanders such as Prince Julius and tacticians such as myself, and we need our squad leaders to be in perfect agreement on what they expect from Cadets in their charge and the goal of a particular mission, people such as yourself who embody an effective modus operandi in regards to how things should be conducted and what is to be executed and tolerated. Our goal is simple even... if... I've managed to complicate it but the overarching goal here is: we need to ensure that the plan is understood and followed in the way it should be followed. It will take brainstorming and defining on exactly what that is but once we figure it out the best method the simple thing is to follow it. You can help me with that, I can teach you analytical theory and structure but that's about all I can do past that. I don't seriously expect anyone to, say, spend days contemplating the best approach to a hypothetical public press situation or the most effective use of our training schedule like I do. It's not very realistic for everyone to be inclined to do that." Susan metaphorically tipped her hand. But only slightly. Maria could catch exactly what her desire from this discussion was if she was keen enough. She may never think on this grand a scale as Susan could but Maria was a very effective leader and coordination between them was key.
Susan touched her finger to her lips as Maria spoke about the incident involving the sewers. It was problematic to be certain, specifically based around this lone individual which she immediately noticed. She could multi-task this, and do as she said she would and teach theory while simultaneously figuring it out. The short woman had to clear space on her black board, she was running out. "I may at the most ask for an expedited request through the city but simple maps should suffice, the most effective navigational app is a good memory because it's instant but that is not important right now. Okay, so I will break down my process for you in how I approach situations such as these to reach a conclusion so that you can see analytical theory in action." Susan wrote on the board a large WHAT to begin with. "So the cornerstone of analytical theory is using broad statements and specific statements to come up with a conclusion, practiced through the different types of knowledge. You generally want your information as broad as possible but the types of information are known knowns, things we know we known, unknown knowns, things we find out are important later, known unknowns, things we are aware we have no knowledge of, and unknown unknowns, things we don't know we are unaware of. We begin with known knowns and use unknown knowns to discover known unknowns. So we... begin... with... WHAT. What do we know? Let's break that down and do it in broad strokes.
We know that an officer that was questioning a potential Psyche Terrorist was attacked by another Psyche Terrorist. We know that this Psyche Terrorist that attacked the officer was part of Infinite Jest. And we know that the initial Psyche Terrorist was assaulted when traveling in a protected convoy. What else? We know that... the assault on the convoy... ended in his mind... being... erased. Okay. So. We know that the perpetrator of the convoy assault has the ability to wipe minds. So we will use these broad strokes to come up with our next solution."
Susan wrote another word on her black board. "Now we explore known unknowns, which are often questions if it helps. WHO are these people and what is their affiliation? WHY did they do this, what where they trying to accomplish? From here I can extrapolate another data point from what we already know. Infinite Jest and this unknown aggressor both made action against this unknown Psyche Terrorist. Both took value in him of some sort, they both engaged in risky behavior to accomplish their goals. So! We can conclude that this... individual... was IMPORTANT. He was wanted by both entities, we may assume they were separate which is another data point. How do we know this? Their goals were different. Infinite Jest was attempting a rescue of this individual or some sort of capture, else they would have eliminated him or wiped his mind as the aggressor did. So we can assume they're different. So WHY was this individual wanted by both Infinite Jest and this unknown party? What value does he grant either party for them to take risks? That is what we are trying to figure out." She had spent a good amount of time scribbling notes in chalk and pausing for effect but she was much more animated than her normally drifting, apathetic countenance that faded into the background. As much work as it was Susan much enjoyed working through the complexities that presented themselves to her. In a very broad sense it was engaging, one would even call it fun.
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:07 pm
Maria kept her silence. Not so much because she was too shy at all, but she was completely absorbed in the accurate statements Susan was laying out for her. There was a faint wince, all of it was too familiar to the Cadet. Warrior culture was all too apt, even admittedly the postulant was guilty of this in a way. A certain knight and a specific princess came to mind for Maria. They were strong, yes. But, like many Cadets, no one was really all that tactically minded and that left them very vulnerable to more devious-minded enemies. The point that the office lady within the Cadets was making was sharp and clear, painfully so. A sad smile began to spread on Maria's face as she finally replied with a soft sigh. "...You're right. That is an issue that keeps perpetuating itself. I knew that it was a problem hat needed to be tackled sooner or later, but after what happened with T... We must address it swiftly, regardless if we won or not. The more people join us, the bigger that opening will be. This chink in our armor can't be left open to exploit. "
Maria shifted uncomfortably at the praise. Leadership was accepted with hesitation and without embrace. In fact, she had to be accept it at the whim and necessity of the situation thrust on her. The events in the Dragon's Maw started it all... and she regretted it. Not that the Cadet was remorseful for being able to save people, but the fact this role had to be forced to her. She was a weapon, not a leader or even a commander. "I'm more than happy with lending a hand in this endeavor, Susan. I can review mission reports and evaluations to consider Cadets for such a role. A few come to mind from the top of my head, but I can see if there are others to add to the roster. Though, I am looking forward to learning much... from you."
Her smile twitched at the promise of more learning. She wasn't too shabby in her studies to begin with. But to learn more skills upon everything else was beginning to feel more stifling. There was so much she'd give to just focus on smashing a demon's skull in with her boot instead of going through the intricacies of hierarchy and complexities of leadership. Susan certainly didn't waste time to start their first lesson. For all of the menacingly complexities there was, it wasn't difficult at all to follow. What was difficult, however, was the why.
"That... is a difficult question to answer. Based on what we know of the Infinite Jest, they advocate for the usurping of the Queen and her Order. It would be a no-brainer to extrapolate that this unknown 'Psyche-Terrorist' had an use for them in that regard--perhaps in some new operation of theirs. If that is the case, then this unknown party could possibly have motivations that conflict with the Jest if they took the time to neutralize him. At least, from what I could tell right now... How am I doing so far?"
The short woman sipped loudly from her coffee cup as she leaned against the desk. It had been far too long between discussions such as these, most people were content to listen to what she suggested but no one ever wanted to hash out a way forward with her. Her ideas were lacking a litmus test, she couldn't throw them against the wall to see what survived if there was no wall to speak of. She nodded. "Oh I don't think it's an issue quite yet..." Susan debated, cradling her mug in both hands, "but it CAN become one if left unchecked. The strongest fighters are not always the most fit to lead and judging an individual's personal worth in terms of their ability to overpower someone else could potentially lead to some real meatheads in positions of authority that A: don't know what they're doing and B: won't believe they can possibly be wrong if challenged. Of course, this is just an eventuality. We aren't there yet." The short woman kicked one leg over the other. "...which is why I suggest core values to point us in the right direction. A Warrior Culture isn't necessarily a bad thing, it worked well enough for the Spartans until Rome fell and a high level of competition can be good for our development. But it does need to be tempered with cooperation and pride in our organization. ...I think if we can shift toward rewarding skill, as in, how well one performs their role and contributes to the organization that would be best. Someone who is unable to fight as well but makes for an outstanding field medic should be equally celebrated, as are people in charge of training and investigating crimes." Susan put her fingers to her lips as she thought silently for a while. It was filled with many moving parts that would need to be organized. How to foster that environment would be the largest challenge moreover what and who is worth rewarding to what extent. "...thiiiiiis will take more thinking, and it will be a grand effort spanning several years starting from the ground up. But I think those are the most fun, don't you?"
Susan floated over to grab another donut with a vague sense of contentment on her face. It wasn't really a smile but one couldn't call it a neutral frown either. Though she was happy to address this large of an issue and map out a solution. It engaged her mind and she could see and be pleased with the impact she left, she could be proud to look back and trace the waves she'd left in her wake. "Thank you Maria, that is very courteous of you. I will admit that even if I'm capable of handling intelligence on this grand of a scale *haaa...* it's downright exhausting at times, I would be glad to not need to do it all myself." The small woman adjusted her hat and huffed. "...I remember when I had hobbies once. Those were good days... I'm glad it's starting to get cold out, once my garden dies that will be one less thing to keep up. Maybe the cold will keep these degenerates indoors too." The businesswoman liked to work. She enjoyed doing important things. But she did not enjoy it when it consumed her and had no time for herself. She would eventually stop complaining to continue to work, however.
"You're following the right trains of thought," Susan nodded, "...but not exactly right. As far as we know this individual was valuable toInfinite Jest which is why they sought to contact him. But we also know that... the suspect... willingly... fled with... Infinite... Jest." Susan sounded out as she turned to write more points on the chalkboard, punctuating her sentence with a harsh stab. "...we can extrapolate that this entity that attacked him was therefore, not Infinite Jest. He chose to flee with them and nothing changed from the point of his capture, if Infinite Jest were to have been the ones to attack the convoy they would have left with him. Also as per their modus operandi they would have done something horrible with the government personnel present but that's beside the point. So. We can confirm that this entity was not Infinite Jest but a rival Psyche Terrorist group which brings us back to the WHY again." Susan pivoted back to the desk to pick up her coffee mug, uncharacteristically hopping up to take a seat on the desk itself to swing her legs. "They WHY we have right now is that this person is valuable but for what reason is he valuable? And to who? Well, we can reason that he is as valuable to other Psyche Terrorist groups but they did not attempt to take him, they wiped his mind which is also important and I will get to that later but MOST importantly it tells us the following: Infinite Jest has someone willing to attack their members besides us. We can use that." The tiny woman tilted her head back to take a long drink from her caffienated beverage, large and intense eyes focused on Maria as she all the pieces began to snap into place.
"Phaaaah...!I think I need to make another thermos a-anyway aside from reasoning that someone out there isn't taking chances when interacting with the Infinite Jest cult we can conclude that this is a form of elimination of a rival, but why would that be when he was already eliminated by us? I have that worked out already and it is because he is also valuable to US. Psyche Terrorists are valuable to the Cadets because we seek to arrest them. This entity did not want them to be arrested. Which proposes more frightening complications." Susan lowered her eyes toward Maria. "...it is likely that this entity is aware of our rehabilitation methods, probably through the info leak. And they took action directly against us, not Infinite Jest or any other group, in wiping his mind. They could have simply killed him if they wanted him out of our hands but didn't, they deliberately wiped his mind. But they did not eliminate any of our own people. THIS... was a warning. This entity is hunting us and does not particularly care about other groups, and I guarantee we will be subject to the same dangers. The armored car was a target of opportunity. ...I posit that next time this won't be the case, more than one individual will be a casualty in the next attack." Susan's voice was eerily casual in tone as she brought her cup to her lips, stared at it perplexed, and then reached for her thermos for a refill.
"Not only are you aiming to fix the culture, you're restructuring it so that all roles within the corps would become appreciated. So as to ensure cooperation and minimize in-fighting between each role... I like it. Though I'm not sure if I could ever find myself appreciating running changes given the mortality rate of this job." Maria said as she nibbled on another donut as she continued to listen to Susan. Though while her eyebrow flitted up at Susan's admission that the culture itself wasn't a bad thing at first, the additions that could support it from its weaknesses assured her. It sounded wonderful: to celebrate all roles equally and to ensure no one were being neglected for a perceived "lesser role". It made her remember about Cecilia and her gung-ho demeanor to protect the City... It would be nice if such people were given their due recognition. But even this shift of culture required significant time. She made a sympathetic smile as the older woman heaved a sigh. The Cadet likewise reciprocated before speaking. "I'm just glad I'm not the only one who sees the necessity for some reform. Believe me, I know how it feels to be swamped with work... His Highness made sure of that when I rose a little higher in the ranks than the others. I'm admittedly still not very comfortable with the more... clerical side of the operations. But I suppose it suffices, since no one is complaining about it yet. Ha ha..."
The lesson would continue as her mouth continued to subsist on another flaky treat. Right, but not just right. Maria wouldn't deflate. She was here to learn after all and to be silent as Miss Groves outlined the train of thought about the entire situation. It was educational and she had an appreciation for the intelligence her teacher-to-be was displaying. While there was respect, there was also a growing pit of trepidation as the realization was beginning to hit her with a grimace. It wouldn't be the first time the Cadets were attacked, more specifically it was the Prince. But the idea of other Cadets being attacked... It could easily devolve into a nightmare scenario.
"So we have another group that's gunning for us, but using vital information to carry out their deeds... But it begs the question, how were they able to quickly pinpoint where the Psyche-Terrorist was going to be before reaching the Prison. It would be difficult to pinpoint all of this for the next night they struck, information leak or not."
"Oh that's an easy one. There was a massive police response and Cadet Frost took out a city block. Who wouldn't have noticed?" the businesswoman gossiped, still swinging her feet. ".....they would have had to have been watching once the conflict began and waiting for an opportunity to present itself, unsettling as that is. And they would have needed more than one to set up an ambush. Acting alone this entity would have had to have caught up with the armored car and we know they weren't tailed, otherwise the call and response would have come in immediately. They are nothing like Infinite Jest, even the message they sent was informed, discreet, and organized. *haaaaaah*Our enemy is smart." Susan sighed loudly, adjusting her cap. This was a problem, and likely only she was aware of how large a problem it was. Up to this moment their enemy wasn't organized, crooks and criminals that acted out and left sloppy trails because they didn't have any structure with which to organize procedures or conceptualize plans. They weren't operations, the terrorists ran schemes but their weakness was these schemes weren't fine-tuned nor did they have many contingencies. Now Infinite Jest walked onto the scene who were intelligent but chaotic which led to more strategic thinking as situations arose and this new entity which picked and chose targets wisely and left messages for those who could also read into the situation.
The smarter their enemy was the more dangerous things were and the higher the chance for failure or encountering complications or failsafes. The tactician would need to be on top of her game if she was to ferret them out and defeat them. Her shoulders slouched. She tried and tried and tried and the requirements kept getting steeper and steeper. Buuuuuuut that was life, not specific to the Cadets. At least she wasn't the only one suffering that, just the only one voluntarily seeking it. "Reform is what I am all about," she exposited in a more casual tone, "There is always a better way to do things, people typically become too comfortable within their systems to want or even see the need for change hard enough. Even if... other people don't always appreciate it I only want to use the most optimal method, and ensure the best result." Susan stared down into her coffee mug, swirling the black liquid to cool it and looking a little worn down. It was true. Her methods didn't earn her many friends, not everyone wanted to be told they were wrong or change their ways but she did it all in the pursuit of perfection. To make things closer to flawless and achieve set goals in the best way possible, to meet objectives with great success or do all the work and leave more time for personal enjoyment. To do a good job, no, the best job. So that everyone was satisfied and accomplished or at the very least she could be. And in this kind of job it meant keeping them alive as well.
".........he does that because he trusts you..." the businesswoman droned, keeping her eyes to her cup. "...and that he has faith in you and wants you to succeed, he is testing you by exposing you to the responsibilities he is in charge of to see you handle them and he wouldn't if he didn't believe that you were capable. Even if he's demanding and a little overbearing. It's also his way of asking for help but as an equal in sharing responsibilities to know that he can rely on you." Susan stopped and... actually smiled a little. "Mmmhmmm, gosh would you look at that. I am analyzing the wrong things again," she chuckled before blowing on her drink and bringing it to her lips. It was something she had thought of because she thought of everything. All the time. Without cease. Even given how knowledgeable she seemed at the moment the meek woman always knew more than she let on, which was impressive for someone who regularly ran into door frames or forgot that other people have feelings that could be affected by the things she said. As she showcased by looking to Maria and addressing her quite bluntly. "...are you afraid that you will die or is it that the people under your charge will die?" Susan had caught on to Maria's comment on mortality rate of the job and she was uneasy about it. Susan had managed to gather that she really didn't want to lead and was forced into it, which was understandable. Susan didn't want to lead either. Leadership was the necessary evil in ensuring that things ran exactly the way she wanted them to while she enjoyed autonomy and independence. The small woman slurped loudly as she stared at Maria with her usual vacant look, completely unaware that this would be any sort of uncomfortable topic at all.
Maria stared dumbly at Susan before deflating from comprehension. Of course, who the hell wouldn't notice an enormous block-wide catastrophe? The answer was just right there in her face. She pursed her lips together in exasperation of herself and wanting to bury herself in her short-sightedness. Though not so much that she wasn't listening to what Susan was saying. The enemy was smart. Those were simple words, but damning words all the same as the Cadet knew what the office woman meant and brooded over it. She looked back at her, almost seemingly hesitant at first before speaking. "If I recall from the Bibliotheca's records, the only Psyche-Terrorist who can wipe minds appears to be one called the "Heretic". But even then, there isn't much information about them... I take it we can assume they took measures to reduce more vital intelligence from being gleaned by the corps--Covering their tracks, to say. And if they're actually capable of pulling off a maneuver like this... They're dangerous."
Quite the understatement and putting it lightly. It was one thing for the Cadets to deal with unruly dissidents with powers. But, it was an entirely different beast of trained or even organized groups that worked like clockwork and they had the advantage of surprise at the same time. It's why small-time heretical cults were easy to take down for the Church. But this, this was different. Maria dryly swallowed at the thought. The most dangerous enemies were the ones that not only were smart, but the ones who learned and can adapt. If this Heretic was capable of the latter... Suffer not that thought.
Maria opted to just nod along as she found no reason to voice any opposition or criticism of Susan's intentions and ways. It was just that sometimes you needed to up your game and your hardware if you wanted to stay viable in the next batches of conflict to come. She was about to finish her bite of donut before hacking and choking on it when Susan spoke of Julius.
"W-wait wha--*KAFF!* *KAFF!*"
The little postulant struggled to cough and clear her throat after taken for a loop. She sorely wanted to stop right then and there, but that wasn't happening. Not until she made one last fit before looking up at Susan with dread and a glowing flush of embarrassment on her cheeks. How could Susan be so nonchalant about this? It was heartwarming, sure. But, feeling so happy of being depended upon from a lofty pedestal wasn't such a pleasant experience for her. Nor was the next question Susan asked. There was more evident shock as Susan would find when the postulant faced her. But soon after, the younger woman fidgeted in her seat while darting her eyes at the legs of the desks in the room away from Susan's inquisitive expression.
"I...I don't know where you're bringing this up, Susan. I mean, people are usually afraid to die. Aren't they? And this is a dangerous job after all..."
"All of them are equally dangerous, save for perhaps Infinite Jest, but being smart means they can better direct that danger. On the bright side if they follow more established processes this makes them more predictable. Through more analytical thinking we can mitigate this, which is my goal. In any case we have a name we can tie to further incidents and create an analytical model." Maria was correct, if they were intelligent this made them a much more difficult foe. Normally it was enough to be one step ahead of the disorganized terrorist groups that reacted on instinct. They reactively fled, they had no plan once caught or loose ones that were easily countered, but their crimes were ones of passion and harder to ascertain. Infinite Jest being the hardest because truly, she didn't know WHAT they were going to do at any one moment and had to act on what was available. But a more disciplined group would act more methodically, and she could rely on them to do things such as attack infrastructure or secure their retreat and therefore know the intent behind their actions. Against unprepared Cadets they were most definitely deadly but if she could anticipate their maneuvers then it would be maneagable. At the moment the city belonged to the government. They held the resource advantage.
"Is it too dry?" the mousy woman tilted her head. She glanced around the room for just a moment as Maria choked before settling on the only method to help: her own coffee cup. She slid off her desk to place it on Maria's before returning to where she was. It wasn't perfect but she didn't mind sharing her mug. That much. Well not that much for Maria, most others would be out of luck. Evidently enough she had not considered any other reason Maria would be coughing, such as normal people not constantly assessing people's behavior for clues into their reasoning such as she did. Because she did all the time, Susan considered herself a very normal person thank you very much. The short woman accepted Maria's expression of shock as that she was able to figure that out, not that what she was saying was inappropriate. They were friends weren't they? Sooooo this was normal for friends to talk about... she thought...
Susan steepled her fingers into a point past her lips, frowning. "Yes, they are but you're not, are you?" she probed deeper. She gave pause before continuing, explaining her reasoning. What else could she do? "...you talked about anticipating the mortality of this job, meaning you were expecting someone to die either yourself or our subordinates but it sounds as if it's you." The businesswoman paused again as her brain churned and attempted to understand why Maria would accept death. It wasn't so simple. She was a nun and a reformed one, one with tattoos from a past life and traumas during the divide. Perhaps she had joined the Cadets as an act of repentance and fully expected to give her life in servitude to absolve her sins, was her best guess. "This isn't a death sentence Maria, you don't need to treat it as such," she shook her head, "Yes, it is a dangerous job and possibly an unending one but that is why we train and plan so we won't die. We do a lot of good protecting people and we are responsible for saving many lives, and I believe we can save many more and end this threat, it will not always exist as it does. And we can inspire and train the next generation, to give them the skills they need and ensure their success so that they will not die either and they can pave the way to a better future."
She held her breath. Susan was never good at these forms of affirmation or encouragement, she only spoke the truth as she noticed it and brought it to attention. Her words were genuine that way. She was much better at practical matters and processes and perhaps that was what was missing. "Maria... as long as I am in charge of tactics in an operation not you nor anyone else will die. I will do everything in my power to assure that. ...That is a promise."
"...Just caught something. I'm fine. Thank you, though." Maria muttered as she waved her hand away at the mug. She was clearly grateful for the offer, but wasn't going to impose on her even more after clearing her throat. The postulant was taken out for a loop for sure and scrambled to retain her composure. But that proved difficult as the conversation shifted to somewhere personal. Silence fell on her as she listened Susan hypothesize and probe her. The inquisitive look on the woman's face made her squirm in place on her seat and how she was trying to assure her any fears. There was something wrong about this. But perhaps it is because this was the Cadets, not the Church. They were so different... so hopeful... so full of passion. She mumbled hesitantly back at her older peer with eyes still downcast. "Susan, no. It's... It's just that I'm not afraid to die... It's more that I'm afraid of having that responsibility of leading others, as you said. If it were my life, then I don't mind what happens to it because it's mine to throw away. But to have others who have their own aspirations and lives to live... I'm scared being the one that makes the wrong call that would end it for them. I... I don't think I have that confidence to make such calls."
Her mind drew back to the moments when she led the team in the Dragon's Maw. She remembered being happy that they were able to save a citizen. That she was able to make those excruciating five years worth it. She thanked God that no one under her care got hurt on top of their mission success. But, just as it was a blessing, that mission served to be a curse. In lieu of her success, she found herself now being fast-tracked to leadership? Frightening. It meant chain after chain of obligations from allowing her to let loose. It was... restrictive to have to keep herself in check. She heaved a deep sigh. Then, her lowered azure hues flit upwards towards Susan with a weary smile.
"Which is why I'm glad you're here, Susan. I'm glad his Majesty chose to trust you with responsibilities. You deserve them. Only you can make all of these promises just now. Me? I'm not sure if I can... I'm really just a weapon to be used, nothing more..."
[font=Times New Roman][color=#ff3300]Sister Louise Dialogue[/color][/font]
Posts : 2317 Join date : 2017-10-31 Age : 25 Location : , location, location
Subject: Re: Diminishing Returns [Susan & Maria] Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:43 am
The businesswoman's eyes widened as she quickly scuttled up from her position on the desk to snatch her coffee back. Before Maria could touch it. If she was becoming sick Susan definitely did not want her drinking from her thermos. She cared enough to help her if she was choking but it was either keep her coffee away from the girl or let her have the entire thing and she had to be prepared for combat tonight, risking that was not something she wanted to do. "You should not be drinking coffee if you are getting sick anyway, it is bad for you," she defended, cradling the thermos, "Tea is the better alternative. The best is rest, you should not be at work if you are catching something." The short woman was very insistent. As much as she did not like to miss work she never went while ill and illness was the bane of her existence. It stopped her from getting things done. She took great pains to avoid it.
"Then it was the second thing I said after all..." Susan appeared pensive as Maria bespoke her personal fears with leadership. Well, pensive for Susan. She was blinking a lot more and appeared as if she was focused instead of zoning out, much of it was uncomfortable staring as she thought and absorbed information. It became clear enough that Maria was not confident in her leadership abilities and it made sense enough. She was incredibly young. Not old enough to drink, still in school and put in charge of who lives and who dies. Maria was not adapting to her role as a leader. The sad thing was it was not up to her. Yet Susan was terrible at these things.
"You should be. You have already proven you can," she stated simply. A fact. Susan found comfort in facts like that even if others didn't, so she opened her mouth to explain... and became hesitant. It was a sticky subject buuuuut... the businesswoman took some time to think and did not believe her usual method would reassure Maria. So she had to venture outside her comfort zone. "Maria....... Maria, I want to tell you something, well, two things, about myself that I do not want you to repeat." The mousy woman took a breath, in and out. "Firstly, I... am twenty-eight years old and secondly... I have no idea what I'm doing." She shook her head. "I know you expect better but... no one really knows what they're doing. I'm not any more confidant than you are, I am... de-eathly afraid that something will go wrong whenever the mission is underway, or that I will be wrong and someone will die from my own mistakes. His Highness is the same way, like you or I. If anything bad happens in the city, anything at all... it is his fault. By default. Even if it is not."
Susan nestled back onto the desk, mostly to get a little space. She wasn't very fond of these kinds of talks, she was aware that she was not good at them. In a way it proved the point she was making. "I can't keep any promise I just made. Or... I can. I can never know for certain, I am not in control of whether or not I can keep that promise. ...but I can do my best, and that is really all me, you, the Prince, honestly every adult you know is doing. None of us are certain." Susan took a deep breath and sighed. "...The truth is that everyone wants to be the weapon. Everyone would like to be told what to do or go through the motions because no one wants to be responsible. There are times when... I do not want to lead people either, because I do not want to be responsible for them. I do not like people, not really, I do not want anyone to fail or die or become injured and my life is infinitely easier if I do not have to worry about what everyone else is doing or stress myself if they are going to follow my plan exactly as it is supposed to go and if that is even going to work the way I want it to or not. It is the burden of leadership. But it is necessary."
Susan looked up toward Maria, a little more weary and sympathetic. "Someone has to, even if it is terrifying. It is part of being an adult and a leader. No one knows what they are doing, but you realize that no one does and they are listening for someone to tell them what to do. People need guidance. And it often falls to the most intelligent or the most experienced or the most trusted to give that guidance. It is terrifying and disheartening to make a poor decision and be responsible for something tragic... but it is much worse to do nothing at all when you could have acted. People look up to you, Maria. They will move when you do."
Susan sat back a little and folded her arms. "So you should probably at least begin acting like you are afraid to die. If you leave me alone to take care of all these Teruis and Fairweathers I swear on everything good I am coming with you on the .38 Express." The meek woman didn't smile but scoffed a little. It was supposed to be a dark joke. Mostly. If they were all going to be like Terui it'd be a toss up. She'd rather fight the clowns again, at least she was authorized to put them down.