Journal Featuring Ivy and Nace Bilby
[Rated PG-13 for unsettling themes]
Interview: Nace Bilby
Taking a sip of her black coffee, Ivy awaited the arrival of Nace Bilby to ACME interrogation space 12. This was one of the ‘softer’ rooms. While it still had the standard concrete panels, bolted metal desk and recycled aluminium Navy chairs, its intention was for victims and civilian witnesses. A landscape painting of an indeterminate white sand beach and clear blue sky hung on one wall, and beside that a fake fern. On the opposite side was a small wooden table with plastic water bottles and “glassware” made of an acrylic compound that would never shatter.
All the objects served to make the room look a little less threatening, and thus the reason why it was also chosen for staff interviews. Today was a quick performance check of the new South African firearms instructor. Recommended by his own brother-in-law to Headquarters, Nace had a violent history that needed to be cleared before receiving his first students.
“Mr. Bilby,” She greeted as the interviewee entered, then extended her hand to shake his. “Have a seat, please.”
Nace politely shook Ivy's hand and took a seat. He was certain Ivy had read through his file, so he was prepared to answer questions.
“We should start with discussing the incident in Russia. You were acquitted, but I’d still like to get your statement.”
Nace calmly replied, “The report does say that the man raised a weapon, aiming it my direction. I simply neutralized the threat to myself and civilians in the immediate vicinity. And it was found that the man was in fact guilty of being a Russian Mafiya enforcer, known to torture people and so forth. Not the sort to go quietly.”
“This is a recurring theme in your file. There was another man--Jean Tainer--whose head you shoved through a window.”
"He had already raped two women in the UK and two others in the US came forward to similar charges. He resisted arrest and I simply subdued him accordingly." Nace replied. In truth he had a deep seated contempt for that particular class of criminal, namely because of what Evey had told him she had endured as a young girl.
"The vermin resisted and I simply forced his compliance via a shove through a window. I had to prevent him from harming anyone else." Nace replied.
“The suspect,” Ivy corrected Nace’s use of the word ‘vermin’ for the record. There was a clear indication of anger when he spoke about the second man. She was no stranger to being personally invested in a case, but through her own self control or sheer luck, it never came to the same violent ends. Monaghan recognized Bilby’s ordeal as something repeated thousands of times with members of law enforcement, a story of angst and vengeance. Not once had she seen this tale end well.
"Well, you will notice that he was found with a weapon, there was a knife he tried to pull. I caught his arm, kicked him in the legs and then twisted the arm behind him before sending him into the window to attempt to halt his combativeness." Nace replied.
“Vae Victus,” Stopping to look Nace in the eye, Ivy continued, “Eyewitnesses reported you shouting that at Tainer. What does it mean to you?”
"Literally translated it is Latin for Suffering to the Conquered." Nace replied, calmly, "The Celt leader Brennus said that to the Romans when the latter complained of unfair tribute they had to pay after being defeated in battle. In the suspect's case it was to tell him that I had bested him in physical battle and that he would suffer in jail, especially if his cell mates knew he was a rapist."
She kept a stoic expression as Nace spoke, but raised a brow when the reference was made.
"And further should Tainer be judged accordingly at the end of his days if he dies unrepentant, then he would be sent to cross Acheron's shores to hear Charon's call, 'Through me the city of woe'." Nace added, there was still that martial calm to his voice but an unmistakable hard edge behind it.
It took Ivy a moment to process where she heard the quote before, “Do you always take The Divine Comedy literally?”
"Dante was quite helpful in shaping my theology in my formative years." Nace replied, "It was helpful in shaping my views on a just and good man, and the eternal punishments for failure to act accordingly."
Now this was odd, Ivy thought. There were few people she knew who were interested in Renaissance literature, but fewer still used it as a life-guide the way Nace did. In all, she found it rather disturbing.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Ivy spoke flatly, “There's nothing in these files to prevent you from teaching in ACME HQ, or from being an agent. But that... part of you, that makes you dehumanize others for their crimes, I don't want to see that come up as something you'll regret. We’re detectives, not judges.”
"No man is a judge." Nace says, "Only God can judge, said the Abbot. It is said, however, that the worst of traitors, to whom rapists fall, are already damned to freeze in the depths of Lake Cocytus."
Nace was referring to Dante again, where the worst of traitors, would at times have their souls removed from their bodies before death, only for a demon to inhabit their bodies until the natural death.
Ivy felted slightly alarmed when he mentioned the Abbot, but decided out of respect to not mention it. After all, that was her own opinion and she needed to remain impartial. Within time, the rest of ACME--be it coworkers or the teams he would become a part of-- would form their own assessment of Nace Bilby.
“I think I have all I need to make a report to Director Devineaux, Mr. Bilby,” She ended the interview and stopped the tape recorder, “Off the record…” Ivy trailed her speech, deciding on how best to broach the subject, “I’d like to recommend that you see Dr. Simon Freeman. It sometimes helps to talk to someone like that when dealing with issues like moving, surviving physical trauma and the lost of love ones.”
Monaghan hoped he understood her message. His file quite clearly indicated all of the above. Looking at the time on her communicator, she stood to wrap this up with a parting handshake, “Thanks for your time,” slipping Dr. Freeman’s card along she continued, “Welcome to ACME Headquarters.”
[Featuring Ivy and Chase in an edited live chat session.]
Accolade's external blue tinted windows were constructed of several layers of glass, air, microscopic metallic film, and silicone-based elastomer. Any light that came directly from outside passed through enough particles to filter out its less desirable collaterals like heat and ultraviolet radiation so only rays necessary for visual confirmation actually reached the eyes of inside observers. In this particular case, the subject was Chase Devineaux. And while he wasn't looking towards San Francisco, the transparent shield behind him made the real world seem more like a passive backdrop. If it weren't for natural light, it may as well have been LCD.
"Ivy Monaghan, Director," his assistant’s articulated voice sounded just before the named Detective entered an already opened door... and promptly closed it.
"Report," Ivy said proudly, presenting a 6-page document that was about 2 days before due.
The papers detailed ACME Academy’s latest hires: a Cairo-educated archaeology expert, a South African firearms trainer and an advanced flight instructor from who-knows-where. Included was their self evaluation and interviews under normal company procedures. What these three didn’t know was that the file also included Monaghan’s notes on their suitability for special operations.
"This is new," Chase took the folder and looked briefly through it while Ivy made herself comfortable on one of the two office chairs. She liked the right more than the left, because it let her put her foot against the cantilevered lower edge of the Director's desk.
"Hey Chase," Ivy picked up one of the monogrammed pencils, "We're friends, right?"
"Then why don't we do things that friends do?"
"What do friends do?"
She paused, with no one specifically coming to mind Ivy thought about the last excursion with her brother, “I guess I go to concerts with Zack.”
“What, like operas?”
“No, like local bands.”
“You know I don’t consume pop culture,” he responded.
Out of ideas, she tried a different approach, “Ok… what do you do with your friends?”
Devineaux briefly pondered the implications of 'friendship' and discovered that he had no friends under the definition of 'doing things together.' In fact, no one on his list of contacts were viable for activities outside of work.
“Rifle range?” His suggestion was mediocre.
“That sounds like work.”
“I can sail? You mean you’ll let me steer the yacht?”
Chase smiled slightly, realizing they were going about this the wrong way listing things ‘friends’ did, but nothing specifically in common.
“Killer,” he referred to the blue-nose Staffordshire terrier puppy he gave her when she moved back to San Francisco, “We can take him out to the beach a couple times a week, or something.”
“Okay,” she perked up, considering that suggestion to fill in the various checkboxes of ‘mutually fun’ and ‘non-committal’, “And then maybe you can have lunch with my other friend, Becca.”
“Becca Simmons isn’t your friend, Ivy, she’s your landlord.”
“Friends have lunch with each others’ landlords, Chase. If it helps, I’d have one with yours.”
“My ‘landlord’ is female.”
“I don’t--” taking a full 3 seconds to evaluate the tone, phrasing, and manner in which that was said, Devineaux surmised the only sensible answer, “You’re joking.”
“Duh-yeah,” She chuckled and leaned back in her seat casually, “Aren’t friends supposed to be sarcastic with each other?”
He shook his head.
“So… Thursday after work?”
“It’s a dog-walk,” Ivy offered a handshake, “good Friending with you.”
The handshake was promptly returned, and Chase added ‘Killer walk’ to his mostly-empty list of external activities.
[Journal Post that takes place when Ivy accepts an instructor position in Hong Kong. Co-written with Carmen originally posted on 28 April, 2009]
Those Who Listen
Awaiting her connecting flight to Hong Kong, Ivy Monaghan tried to pass her time in the excelsior Caffé of Narita Airport by leafing through the photos in Scientific America. Her mind was mainly a blur, having left San Fransisco only hours ago. She blearily remembered a staff goodbye party that included chocolate cake and long hugs from co-workers.
"Is this seat taken?" A woman asked. She was dressed well for the summertime in a chiffon shirt with long, loose sleeves and a matching skirt with ribbons that flowed just past her knee.
"Uh no, go ahead," Ivy knew how crowded it was today, an open seat shouldn't go to waste. She barely made eye contact, returning to her reading and a cup of hot Americano.
The stranger sat down with her white shopping bag and said nothing, which eventually made the Hong Kong-bound detective feel an awkward need to start some kind of conversation.
"Where are y--?" Ivy put her magazine down, now having seen the woman, she was fully aware of why it felt so awkward. This was no stranger.
"I haven't congratulated you on your new endeavor," Carmen stated with an air of confidence, "It's truly inspiring how you've managed to tenaciously remain on this path."
"You mean like how I don't throw my life away?"
"Precisely," a smirk appeared, "you are simply that stubborn."
"I hope this isn't an attempt to get me to switch sides, Carmen," Ivy was now confident in her own right, "It's getting a little old."
"Nonsense, you make a much better adversary than you would a partner."
"At least that's something we can agree on."
"We can also agree on this being the right choice for you."
Ivy stopped short. No one had said that, not even some of her best friends. They've been telling her it was good, or nice, or necessary, but the word 'right' was never used. Boy, did it feel good. "You think so?" she lowered her guard a little.
"I know so, emphatically." With that and a pause for minor theatrics, Carmen placed the shopping bag she had with her atop the table.
"For me?" Ivy gave the bag a good gander. A leather bound book was inside, padded with fabric. It looked like something old and time worn, but the crisp cream pages told a different story.
"You seem the type to write if given the means," Carmen added. "This is a new chapter for you, it should come with a new book."
"You didn't have to..." flipping through the pages, Ivy imagined what kind of pen she'd use. At the same time, a boarding call for Singapore Airlines Flight SQ11 from Tokyo to Singapore was announced.
"That's my cue," Carmen stood up and offered a handshake. "Good-bye, Ivy."
"Don't be so sure, Carmen," the soon-to-be instructor shook Carmen's hand firmly. Saying that felt more like a formality because the chance that Ivy was going to see another International Grand Theft case from her new position in Hong Kong was slim.
"Hey!" Ivy called out with a sly smile as Carmen stepped away. "This isn't stolen, is it?"
"Keep it anyway," the infamous Carmen Sandiego returned her humour, "And ask me again the next time we meet."
Separate names with a comma.