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Thanks a Latte Coffee

a part of Storytellers, by wednesdaysun.

An established café near Renard Park's Fotheringhay University. Open from 0730 to 0200 the next day.

wednesdaysun holds sovereignty over Thanks a Latte Coffee, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Thanks a Latte Coffee is a part of Renard Park, Massachusetts.

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Thanks a Latte Coffee
(East) Pollack District, Renard Park, Massachusetts

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ned B. Sumner
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DATE & TIME
13 January 2017
0730



WEATHER
Clear


CHARACTERS
INVOLVED


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Ned Sumner

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Francis Holt-Westerman


MIDDLESEX COUNTY
ORDER
REPRESENTATIVES


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Mary Frayle

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Joaquin Reynoso
"Wacky"



SENIOR MEMBERSHIP
CANDIDATES


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Alisha Jain

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Martín Yañez Pech

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At the crack of 7:30, six people approached Thanks a Latte Coffee on Sassamon Road.

They were fortunate that the place wasn't more crowded. A café like Thanks a Latte situated where it was two blocks away from a research university like Fotheringhay was a place begging to be filled with droves of undercaffeinated and overstressed academics and students alike, amongst others. Already, there were a few students in the premises beginning to occupy several tables, placing their stacks of books and papers, stationery, and laptop on the tables they intended to commandeer for the next few hours. Others more were coming in to pick up their morning fix before traipsing into work.

The group made their orders at the counter and left to secure a longer table in one cosy corner of the room save one, who waited patiently by the counter for their food. Carrying a tray of warmed pastries, she approached the long table they were all sat at and set the tray down, distributing each plate to each person who ordered them.

“Shall we begin?” She turned to look at one of them. “Wacky, would you do the honors?”
Wacky nodded. “This is a private conversation. The matters discussed here will not leave this area... this circle.” The ambient noise of the café—soft jazz, chatter, all—muffled the moment he’d finished his sentence. “As long as we are discussing these private matters, what we say will be intelligible to no one outside of this circle. Are all in agreement?

One by one, each member of the small congregation said their ayes, each time a strange change in aura washed over each individual responder before it shimmered out.

“Good. Since we’ve only just met, I think introductions are in order. My colleague and I are representatives of the Middlesex County Council body. I’m Mary Frayle.”
“Joaquin Reynoso.”
“And you’re all the most senior members in Renard Park?”
“No.” Ned waved an index finger back and forth between him and Francis. “We are. They’re aspiring to it.”

Perhaps what he said didn’t inspire plenty of confidence in the juniors judging by the unease that came over their faces. Not that he cared much for their approval at this point. He needed to take on two birds with one stone: there was the pressing matter of potential exposure of their kind, but there was also the last battery of tests he needed to run to help complete the juniors’ training. He might as well get all the work he needed done done.

“Relax, they aren’t greenhorns. They’re senior candidates. They know what they’re doing.” He stood up to shake hands, and then the rest did, half-dazed at the abruptness of it. “Ned Sumner. Francis Holt-Westerman.”
“It’s just Francis.”
Ned ignored the interjection, continuing to speak. “He mostly deals with the youth; I mostly deal with adults. Senior candidates Alisha Jain, Martín Yáñez.”

Something about him didn’t sit well with Mary, but she was at least glad he knew the urgency of their agenda.

Well. Down to brass tacks, then. You’ve been made aware of the situation?”

One of the juniors turned to her seniors as if to ask permission. Ned waved dismissively. “As of the last Crier calls we intercepted an hour ago, there’ve been five,” began Alisha. “Four of them were relatively minor ones dotted around south side Pollack, west Thornberry, and near Watertown, where we assume the general area of the epicenter is. They seemed to intensify the further they spread out.”

Martín spread both open palms outward. A map of the city unfurled in front of them. He pinpointed the four minor anomalies on the map with a finger, leaving a glowing dot in its wake. As he was marking points on the map, however, two people had bumped into each other in front of the establishment and the other party in the mishap, a pale, hungover looking thing, sauntered over to their table and patted him on the back, grabbing his attention.

Aye,” he said, offering the congregation a weak smile, then leant over to Martín to whisper in his ear.

After muttering an admonition to him, the latter sent the messenger on his way. “Six now. There has been a recent development... here.” He added another glowing dot to the map. “City Hall. Apparently, the tower is looking more… flaccid than usual. Despite that, the clock carries on like nothing.”
“One of our biggest concerns right now isn’t the cleanup or memory rewriting. We’ve set up our respective teams for it and will be ready to move after this meeting.” She pinched the bridge of her nose and groaned. “It’s social media. People have been talking about this on the Internet. It’s not an easy thing to clear.”

Wacky raised his eyebrows and smiled at the seniors. “They’ve been trained well.”
“Go on. Thank the nice council member.” Alisha rolled her eyes at Ned. Martín noted Francis’s faint smile, and said nothing.
“At any rate, this is what we’re here for,” said Mary. “We’ll deal with the more complicated matters concerning its potential nationwide spread. What we need you to do is to clean up and contain the anomalies as quickly as you can before any more media gets a hold of it.”
“Mary and I will be helping to oversee the candidates for seniorship as well. This’ll be a good time to observe larger-scale negotiation for the both of you. Ms. Jain, you’re with me. Mr. Yañez, with Mary.’

Both assigned pairs stood up, although Mary shot Ned a disapproving look for remaining seated. So much for understanding the urgency of their agenda.

“We’ll follow.”
“That’s that, then. Meeting adjourned.


Ned took out a slim, black vape pen out of his jacket pocket and took a puff, blowing smoke rings into the air. He could feel eyes next to him boring into his face. “It helps put me at ease,” he explained nonchalantly, leaning back into his chair as he took another puff. “You should try it. Maybe it’ll put you at ease for once.”
“Right now it might make someone want to deck you, and I’m not standing up for you if and when that happens.” Francis, already on his feet, stretched at the waist, cracking his vertebrae loudly. “Get you anything?”
“A ristretto.”
“Sit tight.” Three minutes later he was back with two steaming cups, passing the smaller one to Ned. He settled into his chair, leaning back in his seat and warming his hands around the cardboard holder.
Ned downed his drink in one gulp. “It’s way too early for this shit. Another troublemaker.” He waved his hand in the air as if to erase what he said from existence. “Another powerful troublemaker. He could get us all killed.”
“I doubt it’s that serious,” Francis countered, unperturbed.
Au contraire. Harmless as it is by the Rules’ standards and by the Sib’s parameters—the lesser damage, the better, et cetera, et ceteraanyone could triangulate its origin. Four points around south Pollack, somewhere in Thornberry, Watertown just west of here. That’s enough points.” He took a quick huff of the pen and blew out more smoke rings. “Find him, and they find us.”
Francis lifted one shoulder and dropped it. He was, generally, much less worried about the Order being discovered, and more concerned with doing his job well.



WARP IN NORTH EVERTON KINDERGARTEN.
ROBIN'S NEST LEARNING CENTER.
CLEAN UP REQUESTED IMMEDIATELY.
FIVE WITNESSES.
REQUESTING WIPER ASSISTANCE.

WARP IN NORTH EVERTON KINDERGARTEN.
ROBIN'S NEST LEARNING CENTER.
CLEAN UP REQUESTED IMMEDIATELY.
FIVE WITNESSES.
REQUESTING WIPER ASSISTANCE.

WARP IN NORTH EVERTON KINDERGARTEN.
ROBIN'S NEST LEARN—


“Oh, God, it won’t shut up,” Ned grit out, massaging his temples. “Do they have to repeat it so many goddamn times?”
Francis sat up. “Robin’s Nest, that’s where my mentee works. Let’s go.”
“Mentee, huh? Larry, was it?”
Laurie. Get moving.” Francis was already halfway out the door.
Chuckling, Ned got up and shrugged his coat on, following his comrade closely behind. “Gosh. I wonder who spat in your oatmeal this morning.”