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 A Journalists Integrity, Feb 20th 6PM [closed]
Storyteller
 Posted: Jan 3 2018, 09:51 PM
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Samantha Wavering calmly sat at a table for two at one of Manhattan's ritziest restaurants. Eleven Madison Park just so happened to be the place to go if one was into fine dinning and being in the same room with some of New York's elite. Though you had to be elite to be in that restaraunt. You never got out with a check under $116 a person, and that was on a weekday.

A veritable who's who of New York sat and ate their ridiculously expensive meals. Many of them nodding hello or stopping by to say hello to the Vice President for Public Relations Samantha Wavering. She just so happened to be one of the most powerful women in the city, right underneath Emma Frost. Though one day she hoped to move up the corporate ladder and land a job as one of Frost's executives. Though she sometimes wondered if this stint at Trask was going to thwart that plan. It really did not matter much. Bolivar Trask threw buckets of money into Samantha's own ridiculously expensive pay check. Which was to be expected. When you wanted the best you had to pay for the best. That was the nature of the world whether people understood that or not was not of Samantha's concern.

Some of those in the office thought Samantha was out of her mind for taking this meeting with a budding journalist. The resources of Trask ran far and wide, and after deciding to take the interview their security had done their job in gathering background on the young Guari Vincent. But spin was what she did. Perhaps she could paint it as Trask fostering the next crop of journalists. Or, if she did not like what she heard or saw before the article went to print, she would just have to give her good friend J Jonah Jameson a call, bat her eyes and remind him that he did not have a job if he did not sell papers. Being the last to hear of any major Trask announcements would certainly sting for a very long time.

Taking the decanter of water from the ice bin, Samantha poured her a glass before reaching for the pat of butter and one of the hot steaming artisan dinner rolls. Three things she had just touched and the bill was already up around the $30 range. Spreading the artisan butter on the gourmet roll, Samantha sat back, cracked a cool smile and waited to see if the budding journalist would show. Or perhaps he was wise enough to not walk into her territory at a time of her choosing and under her rules.

Guari Vincent

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Guari Vincent
 Posted: Jan 9 2018, 02:14 AM
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He had believed it and yet for the 18 years of his life, he hadn’t really seen it provide any real results. But on this day, he was absolutely certain that adequate amounts of tenacity could pave your way through an obstacle. He didn’t take ‘No’ or an answer and was actually getting an interview. A real interview! With a real person of interest, or at least somebody that had an official email.

He had borrowed his father’s tie and wore a black shirt with a pair of black slacks that he had for those formal dances and family dinners that he never really cared much about. Over his shoulder he had a book bag. He knew it wasn’t exactly the most professional, but it was all he had. He had gone thrift shopping hoping to find something better, but nothing looked like it would work. He brought a change of clothes, since he wasn’t fond of the dress attire, complete with a pair of shoes to go with it. He had a small notepad he had borrowed from his mother to take notes on and a snack, just in case.

The train ride felt odd. The young riders looked at him with a mixture of disdain and confusion, while the older riders looked right through him as if they dreaded seeing another possible version of their self indoctrinated into the workforce. The cab ride from the subway was different. He hadn’t ridden in many taxis. It was money that he’d have to spend when his legs worked fine. All the same he arrived at the restaurant, it appeared more expensive than most of the colleges he had looked at going to school at.

He closed his eyes and before the lion’s den and gathered his breath. Gathered his courage as he looked up at the name of the restaurant. Eleven Madison Park. It‘s very name held a certain prestige, but then again he wanted his name to as well. Striding through the doors with a confidence he likely had no reason to carry. He managed to even tell the hostess that he was there to meet with Samantha Wavering. While the hostess was likely trained to remain professional and poised, his face betrayed him for just a moment.

He was definitely getting in over his head.

He was led back to a table. A table that he was almost afraid to touch for fear of knocking something over, or worse yet setting it on fire. He smiled instead.

With a slight bow, as if he were entering into a martial artist fight in some kung fu movie. “Mrs. Wavering.” he coupled the words with an extended hand. “It is beyond my comprehension what an honor this truly is, my name is Guari Vincent.” He concluded the attempt at a glib greeting with his own introduction. It seemed that there was already a carafe of water and a basket of rolls…

Was he late?

He immediately dismissed the thought before it could dismantle his confidence. While his confidence may have been mostly intact, his mind decided to do a hard reset as he tried to think of what to do next. As the hostess stepped away, his job done, and Samantha sat there he figured he should probably sit down as well. Taking the glass that was set up for his seat in hand he, carefully, lifted the carafe out of the bucket of ice to pour his own glass of water. He took a sip once the glass was half full.

There was just something about a nice swallow of ice cold water that gave him a moment of calmness.

He continued pouring the rest of the glass before looking at the seasoned veteran across from him. He was pretty confident that she could eat him alive in any sort of way, but as he smiled once more he vowed to make her at least work at it if she was planning to do so.

So how about those mutants around town huh?” Go big or go home.

Bry

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Storyteller
 Posted: Jan 9 2018, 06:52 PM
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Samantha cooly smeared the artisan butter on the bread roll as she watched the hostess lead Guari to the table. Samantha did not rise from her seat as she would any other time. A subtle assertion of dominance in the situation. Kings and Queens did not rise when the plebs were coming for an audience. Though she did lean forward and shake his hand. There was a fine line between asserting dominance in an interview and being rude. Samantha knew how to walk that line with expert precision.

"Shall we begin." She said after listening to Guari's introduction, lifting up the menu and beginning to peruse its selection. Her question catching her ears, she glanced up and smiled. The young reporter was blunt and straight forward, he had yet to learn the journalistic trait of baiting an interviewee into an innocuous conversation that felt off the record though was anything but. Off the record was only off the record when those words were spoken. Too many people forgot that rule. Samantha never did.

"How about those mutants indeed." She answer with re-stating his question while continuing to glance over the menu. "I suggest the New England Clam Chowder. It's the best in New York, and a journalist conducting an interview over dinner does not want to give the interviewee time to formulate a response because he is busy chewing." He was such a new upstart journalist. Samantha could tell by how young he was so she decided to give him a pro tip. For two reasons. One, it gave her time to formulate a real response to his initial question, and second a polite gesture may end up being a bit disarming and something that may influence his personal feeling toward her.

"In 2010 the New York birth rate per 1000 people was at 14.7. In 2015 it was 13.6, with each year in between continuing the downward trend. The rate of mutants manifesting their abilities in New York has increased over the same period of time from 5% to 15%" Samantha said as she took a sip of her water, closed her menu, and sat it down. "So, about those mutants. They are experiencing a growth in population, albeit hard to accurately count, while the over all birthrate is in decline." She provided Guari's general and broad opening question with a general and broad opening answer. One chalk full of statistical data that he would have to, and be able to, verify on his own.

Guari Vincent

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Guari Vincent
 Posted: Jan 9 2018, 08:37 PM
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Everything was going to be nourishment for him. This water, the bread, the Clam Chowder… even her suggestions. And apparently she was going to give him some food for thought. He took her words, and gave them half a thought and wrote down the meat of it. Quickly he unzipped his backpack and grabbed his pad and his mechanical pencil.

‘Soup for interview, allow more talking and less planning.’

He looked up and nodded with a smile, appreciating her advice. Who knew why she was giving it, but he’d take it and work it through his head later. But then came her actual response. At least some sort of factual regurgitation about the birth rate of people, and then of mutants. He scribbled some of it down trying to get the meat of it without writing every word of what she said. He thought about it and understood then why journalist had recorders.

“So, about those mutants. They are experiencing a growth in population, albeit hard to accurately count, while the overall birth rate is in decline.”

This was a fascinating little tidbit. He looked away in thought for a moment before looking back at her. This was a well educated woman, or at least well prepared. He didn’t want rehearsed facts though. “That’s rather fascinating. That’s not something that many people tend to point out. Do think this is a trend that is felt worldwide or just in our larger and more populated region? Is this a concern… or even fear, that has led to such aggressive movements lately?”

He hadn’t looked at his menu since she had given him plenty of thoughts to chew on. He sat eagerly, leaning forward curious where this meal would take him.

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Storyteller
 Posted: Jan 13 2018, 11:35 AM
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Samantha grinned at Guari's questions. He had not asked one question, but rather a series of questions. Showing that he had an innate journalistic instinct. Amateurs asked one question at a time. The experienced ones asked a set of related questions. The real seasoned ones, would throw in the curveball question, hoping to trip you up and get an answer you would not normally give due to the confusion from the multitude of questions. "It's hard to tell what the true trend is, since we have no means or taking an accurate census." She left off the "yet" part. There were certain things that Trask was working on that did not need to be in the Sunday paper. "But I thinks it is a fair assumption that the trend here is a universal one."

She considered what he was asking and thought on the answer. Using the bread roll in her hand as a tool to place a well timed pause in the conversation so that she could aptly mull over her response. Choosing not only what she wanted to say, but how to say it and which question to actually answer."February 28th 1997." She simply said with a bit of a grin before continuing. "Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu entered and robbed the North Hollywood Bank of America. They were covered head to toe in body armor and carrying an array of automatic weapons. Norinco Type 56 S-1s, a Bushmaster XM15 Dissipator, and a HK-91 rifle with high capacity drum magazines as well as Beretta 92FS pistols. In that era, standard police issue was 9mm pistols and 12 gauge shotguns. The shootout with the police should have been over in moments, however it lasted a full 90 minutes before Phillips and Mătăsăreanu were finally stopped."

Samantha leaned back in her chair and sat her bread roll down as she arrived at her point. A cool and calm demeanor present as she continued to give her purposefully long winded explanation of her point. "That event changed policing. Made PD's realize that their officers were grossly under geared for the threats they were faced with. Now, officers are faced with a criminal element that can lift cars, call down lightening, and influence people with their minds. Does this create concern? Yes, it does. Public safety is paramount to a thriving society. The movements of late are not aggressive, but more the effect caused by an element that authorities are not properly equipped to deal with. Just like the North Hollywood Shootout 20 years ago." Savy and cunning as ever, Samantha worked to answer the question without stepping into the racial overtones that the mutant question really had at its core.

Guari Vincent

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Guari Vincent
 Posted: Jan 13 2018, 02:29 PM
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As she started to answer him, he almost felt disappointed in the way she was tiptoeing around actually answering his question. He thought about pursuing the line of questioning if there was a reasonable way to do that? Or if it was unreasonable and bound to be abused.
But he saw more…

She was still thinking, she had more. He would just have to wait. He would have to be patient. And without the waiter their to take his order yet, he reached for a roll. By the time he had shaved off a bit of butter to spread on his roll she continued, or rather, started again.

February 28th, 1997. He needed to remember that date as he took a small bite of his bread before depositing it on this the small saucer before him. She recounted an instance that he had been alive for but had never really noted or paid attention to. He wanted to make make sure he reviewed the incident later. After she took a bite of her roll, she proceeded to make her point.

Those who chose to live outside the law would inevitably drive the law to increase their ability to stop those criminals. In that sense she wasn’t wrong. If mutants like Seamus turned against the government, average police wouldn’t be able to stop him. At the same time, if Danny Rand decided to rob a bank what were the odds that the security within would be able to stop him? And Danny wasn’t a mutant, maybe immortal or super powered, but he wasn’t a mutant.

“That is a very valid point.” he acknowledged. “The safety and order of the masses needs to be upheld and protected first and foremost. It's how we as, not just a city or a state, but as a nation will persevere. The method though, mechanical sentries and technological wonders, wouldn't they encourage the evolutionary anomalies that mutants claim to be to simply evolve further and more radically?" he gently stroked his chin as the thoughts were forming in his mind, "With that in mind, do you know if Trask has, or if any other agency, is working to incorporate those car lifting and lightening throwing in their enforcement of the law and safety instead?” He sat back in his seat letting lips wag just a little. “I mean after all, wouldn’t the training of wholesome and loyal americans be less costly than constructing and furthering an arms race?” He shrugged.

But as he looked her in the eyes, “Does Trask value people? Those they sell to and those that feel the effects of their innovation?” He wasn’t sure if she would shut down at this, but he knew if she didn’t cave, he was pathing a path for her to paint Trask in a great light. Or maybe he would push a wave a change back through her. He doubted that, but questions needed to be asked…

He caught sight of the waiter glancing their way out of the corner of his eye to which he raised his hand signalling him over, “Are we ready to order?” he asked Samantha with a smile, hoping that their interview was just getting started.

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Storyteller
 Posted: Jan 21 2018, 11:39 AM
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Samantha sat patiently and listened as Guari spoke. Taking in the words he used and the line of questioning he was pursuing. She, however, was no slouch and had been doing this sort of thing for years. It's why she was hired by Trask in the first place. Spin was what she did better than most everyone. Samantha also knew how to use her environment to serve her. A trait that most PR people had seemingly forgotten how to do and was why she tended to do these sit down interviews in restaurants.

Raising her hand, Samantha motioned to the waiter to come to the table and take their order. Using the lull in conversation to formulate her response. Ordering the Salmon special and waiting for Guari to place his order as well before continuing the conversation. "I cannot speak for the NYPD, but Trask does value life and is an equal opportunity employer." It said so right on the application for employment. Did Trask hire mutants? Not knowingly. Where their mutants in Trask's employ? Perhaps. They had not yet perfected the technology that allowed them to identify who was mutant and who was not. Though they were so very close, if she read the reports from the R&D department correctly. Which reminded her, she needed a sit down debriefing. "Trask is also not a law enforcement agency. We develop technologies that can serve a wide range of needs. Some of which Law enforcement and militaries can use. Does one weapon led to a bigger weapon? Yes, it always has throughout history. Trask does more than make weapons. We're in a wide variety of markets."

Samantha took a sip of her water, while considering her next words and her next point. Thinking about Guari eluding to hiring mutants. "What also gets lost in the conversation is the impact on the worker. If the NYPD hires a bullet resistant individual what will keep them from letting go six officers to save on payroll? That one mutant can do the job of most of a SWAT team. Construction companies can hire those with enhanced stamina and strength. Those mutants can do the job of five or six who may find themselves laid off as well. Those officers could get hired in corporate security, unless the corporation hires telepaths. And what skills do those construction workers have other than building things? They cannot go into I.T. work. Especially when computer jobs are being outsourced, and "would you like fries with that." does not pay the bills that they have." Samantha said with a pleasant smile, taking a moment to consider how she was going to spin this particular statement. "Balance. Trask is simply working to achieve a balance in the lives of everyone so that life can carry on peacefully."

Guari Vincent

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Guari Vincent
 Posted: Jan 25 2018, 02:33 AM
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He wasn’t entirely sure what was different in how he tried to get the waiter's attention and how she did, but it was for certain that she had succeeded. He took his eyes off of of of Samantha and the marvel that she was in her own environment to investigate the menu that he had all but ignored. She ordered the salmon special. He wasn’t sure if it was to further attempt to establish that this was her home ground. Looking up from the menu at Samantha, he smiled. He noted how she didn’t order the soup as she had suggested with her free tip. Glancing back at the menu before the waiter, Guari ordered the striped bass.

He didn’t have must experience with this level of cuisine, but he understood that bass was a type of fish. How bad could it be?

As soon as the waiter left, she continued talking. In the most casual, and yet professional, tone she worked Trask out of the cross hairs and almost threw the police under the bus. Honestly, he wasn’t surprised, but it was still noteworthy. That was part of getting a good story, remembering all the details? Trask had more than one product she claimed. Of course Trask had more than one market, it wasn’t just anti-mutants or weapons, any good business had lots of markets. That sounded like simple and good business.

He bet their budgets were leaning all towards weapons and mutant suppression. But he needed proof, or at least a story.

She made an argument against mutants working aside non-mutants. She spoke with such confidence and well thought out counter arguments led him to believe that she hadn’t had this conversation for the first time. It was a well thought out concern, but it was also a singular side to the problem. She claimed that they wanted ‘balance’, from such a large corporation, it was hard to believe even for somebody as inexperienced as himself.

Leaning his forearms on the table, he nodded his head trying to figure out the right words to use. “That all sound possible, even probable.” he looked her back in her eyes. “Isn’t that exactly what has kept this, even remotely possible course of action unexplored.” Looking down at the silverware that reminded him of the almost fluid metal-woman he had met at the museum. “What if they simply wanted to work. Not to be better, not to get a higher wage but to simply live a life and provide for a household.”

As he looked back up at Samantha, “Just because a man is super strong and invulnerable doesn’t mean he wants to work in construction. No more than a tall man wants to play basketball, or even an artist wants to actually make art. An aptitude doesn’t make a career. Even if it did, for safety reasons there would simply be stricter regulations.” he sat back, with his arms off the table. “Just because a person can throw hammers at a nail to nail it into a wall doesn’t make it safe for a workplace.” Guari argued. “Balance would be a mixture of the two with the same expectations and regulations?”

“Do you know.. well of course you would know. Does Trask have any programs or movements to support the mutant community?” He capped his counter argument with another probing question. Hoping to get even remotely closer to a story in Samantha.

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