[Open] Commissariat Office Block - Commissar Yorke - Adjutant Vayne

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Postby SilverRuby » Tue May 15, 2018 11:16 pm

When Vayne returned in the morning, he unlocked the door and stepped inside. Everything seemed to be in its original place... But as he stepped to Cat's desk, he noticed upon looking at the papers on the top of the stack, that there was a signature already placed.

Ah, he must've been discharged... Vayne thought to himself with a small smile, feeling a momentary relief at the return of his C.O. Reaching over Cat's desk to pick up his own cup and the few things he'd left on the other's desk, he brought them back over to his own, and sat down at the cogitator to start the day.

Weirdo comes in at stupid hours... He thought to himself as he started checking through the communiques, impressed that Cat had dealt with some already.

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Postby Commissar Cat » Wed May 16, 2018 8:33 am

It would be some hours before Yorke indeed turned up in the office, under the guise of having overslept. The truth was, that Cat had been unsure if he could fact return to his station at all, and had desired to do so without observation.
The work had tired him, more than expected. And so perhaps, the commissar judged himself to have failed.

For the first week or so, this became his pattern, attending in the small hours of morning, leaving work completed, and in some cases, recaff in the pot, or a locally sourced breakfast to silently thank Vayne for his patience.
To the rest of the world, Yorke continued to appear half-assing his way through the days, turning up late and leaving early. But all that mattered to the commissar was that he carried his own weight once more, even if it meant breaking his days apart.

*

By the time Candlemass rolled around, Ray had made some recovery, enough to work full days. On occasion, even arriving before his conscientious aide.

For those around him, the newfound drive simply meant Yorke was at least, notably less irritating. For his friends, it was difficult to pinpoint quite what had changed in Cat's demeanor, for he was no less caring, strange or kind, and still attentive when he put his mind to it.
But there was a slight but discernable weight on his frame, more than simply physical fatigue. His chatter was a little less frequent or flippant, his silences slightly longer, and his stares out of the windows were those of concentrated thought, rather than idle distraction.

Candlemass itself at least, had seemed a joyful event, raising the spirits of everyone, commissars included.

*

Pulling off his jacket, and hanging it neatly over his chair, rather than simply tossing it on the cot as he would in the past, Cat stretched, stepping out from behind his desk, and gazed out of the nearby window for a moment.

"Cassius, tell me something?" Cat eventually tore his eyes from the view, and regarded Vayne, his expression familiar; innocent, "Say all of this draws to a close, and the guard, they achieve this... Ideal... of an Imperial Naris again; our work so far as combat would be done... What would you do? Would you leave with them? Would you stay here?"
There was no pressure to the gaze settled on the young Narisian, it didn't seem to be a loaded question, but one of genuine curiosity.

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Postby SilverRuby » Wed May 16, 2018 9:40 am

The question certainly drew Vayne to pause in his work, looking up to the Commissar... He'd noticed the change in the other's behavior, but had wisely kept quiet. The younger man hadn't wanted to admit that he'd overheard a little of what Holt had told the other to do, pleading ignorance to the knowledge. As far as he was concerned, the less he 'knew' the further from the executioner's block he'd remain.

Commissar Cat wrote:"Say all of this draws to a close, and the guard, they achieve this... Ideal... of an Imperial Naris again; our work so far as combat would be done... What would you do? Would you leave with them? Would you stay here?"


The Corporal looked at the ceiling, clearly thinking. He hadn't actually thought about what he'd do until recently. Hadn't actually made a plan for his future until now that he'd had a taste of what it was like in a higher position in the Guard while caring for Yorke's affairs in the elder's absence. The weight of actual responsibility.

Getting up, he wandered over to the window beside the taller man, looking at the ruined skyline he'd pointed out previously to another Commissar in a furious speech. It had certainly gotten him thinking when he was bored to tears over paperwork... Now that the amount was lesser due to Cat pulling more of his own weight... The Corporal had to consciously stretch less work over what felt like a longer day.

"I don't know," Vayne started, staring outside for a pause. Whether or not Yorke had wished for a whimsical answer, he was going to get a loaded one in return. "Logically, I would probably stay. Assuming by then I'm not dead and have made something of myself... It would make sense that there would be a transition of power back to whatever new Narisian PDF installed in the place of the old with it's vetted officers in place as puppets. I doubt we would have voice in the appointed leaders, it'd be a purely political affair."

"Guardsmen like myself or even DiMettrio would be ideal to place in key positions, we've proven loyal to the Golden Throne, and we both come from ancient Houses that command respect. The people of Naris would rally under their own given we could be granted enough support in rebuilding efforts from the Guard to garner goodwill among the displaced."

Cassius looked up at Yorke, a quiet but thoughtful look on his face, having offered his answer after analyzing the political climate. The look suggested that he had more in his mind that he let on in the first place.

"When I spoke up to Aesteban in Holt's office, I didn't do so without knowledge of his heritage. We are all schooled in each other's histories, with notable Houses marked clearly for us to take notice, and to... Take down. I had simply sought to throw a figurative wrench in his plan to secure power. Sometimes playing dumb works in my favor," he smiled thinly.

"But he does not strike me as a leader that the people will rally behind, he is not the type to be a likeable figurehead to usher Valmaria's heart into a new era. A man like him is destined to rule in legislation."

The younger man sighed, the exhaustion of knowing clear on his face as he finally admitted such to Cat, having barely spoken to the other for days.

"The Draconian practices we both cited are true, I wasn't making something up to call his bluff... But I will warn you now, now that I'm not privy to his more predictable forms of blackmail and espionage through paperwork..." Vayne looked back out there window. A few months ago he would have been nervous for revealing his hand to Aesteban that he was a savvy rival. Now he was just accepting of the fact that he'd exposed himself as a dangerous enemy blocking DiMettrio's path to the top.

"I don't know what his next move will be... And I'm afraid I'm not going to be let off so easily now."

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Postby Commissar Cat » Wed May 16, 2018 11:22 am

Cat smiled, relieved that his question hasn't caused offense, and rather surprised at the candidness if the response. The commissar settled on the edge of his desk, looking back past Cassius at the room, leaving the younger man to his view of the base.
"I don't think you would be blocked from staying, assuming Holt remains in command." Ray murmured softly, "I think, despite whoever holds his leash in turn, Holt understands the situation like you do; Naris cannot be taken by a closed fist."

Yorke rubbed his nose, as though shifting dust, "I think... I mean, I've been thinking for a while, that- I'd like to stay." he spoke with an unusual, careful pacing, compared to his better known crashing headfirst through a conversation that the commissar was more than capable of, "I think... I've done enough running. I don't think there will be anything left of me if I continue to move, and move." Cat looked down at his metallic hand, and extended the fingers.

"I don't have a home. The same Imperial hubris that deemed Valmaria worth retaking by force, deemed my planet and people expendable." the words were quiet, as though speaking them aloud was in itself an act of treason.
"So I figure, this place, these people, they deserve better. You deserve better." Cat raised his head and voice back to their regular level, "They certainly deserve better than Aesteban, or some similar monster. Even the local PDF are more attuned to the needs of your people."

There was some pause while Cat considered his words, "I can't- I don't know how to immunise you against DiMettrio, but I think I could certainly make his attempts very very difficult-" the commissar looked to Vayne for the first time, "-if you can teach me- or try to- how your worlds work. How folk exploit one another." there was a sad determination in Ray's expression.

"I would never, in the past, use a man's record against him... But I did take Aesteban's medical assessment, his mental and character assessments. Those contain more than enough material to have him and his entire home discredited. Or have him incarcerated at my discretion, regardless of his rank." and a slight reluctance crept into his voice, like a child uncertain whether their poor behaviour was excusable in some way, "If it was was the right thing to do. And the right time to do it." a definite shame settled over Cat's face, but it seemed for once, he had begun to understand the difference between principles and necessity.

"Help me help you? I mean, if-" no longer certain of his footing in the conversation, Cat dropped his gaze, "You've always been right, that I'm a political officer, I should be able to protect people that way as well."

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Postby SilverRuby » Wed May 16, 2018 12:38 pm

Vayne continued to stare outside at the base, watched as guardsmen jogged past in formation. He folded his gloved hands behind his back. He couldn't help but be reminded of his own father, standing like this, overlooking the manor's shipping grounds, watching as foremen directed numerous autocarriages filled with shipments out the various gates to different corners of Valmaria. The best, the largest of them always to Naris, for the highborn hungered greatly for exotic goods that were difficult to procure.

House Vayne had always taken advantage of its relations with outside traders. They would import specialty products from foreign planets, and facilitate the movements of Narisian goods off world, as well. Many of the vaunted liquors- like that the DiMettrio or the McKinnons brewed often passed through their hands to Aristocracy abroad. Valmarians travelling often dreamt and wept for home, and little tastes of Narisian treats often soothed the homesickness. They had always taken advantage of the needs and wants of others to play the middle-man; buying and selling their way into a seat of formidable mercantile power.

"I don't presume that whomever holds Holt's leash is dimwitted enough not to see it. You have come to put down a rebellion, and local folk are hard to win over with foreign power. You can see it in the way we grit our teeth and abide," Cassius turned, looking at Cat when the other admitted that he wanted to stay. His expression softened a little, considering that he was kind of fond of the Commissar, no-matter how much the elder blundered through political situations with the grace of a stampeding grox. "I don't blame you, you're not the one calling the shots. You didn't personally order orbital bombardment on High Town, did you?" There was a sad, but amused smirk on his face.

"Someone did. The blood is on their hands, not yours."

The young man looked outside again, pausing in his reverie to hold his hand up to stop Yorke as the other offered DiMettrio's papers.

"Do not tempt me with such knowledge. It's an ugly, ugly game," Cassius caught Cat's gaze, completely serious, "Perhaps it's naive of me to think I can succeed by honour alone, but don't tempt me to stoop to his level..."

"Remember, Ray, that mountain of documents he had on you that he was willing to bring to bear... As soon as you start fighting him with paper, you're going to drown in it. That's his arena. The temptation to scandalize someone is tantalizing, I can understand this, because that little high you get from knocking someone down a few pegs... Feels good, doesn't it?"

Vayne turned to the Commissar then, hands carded behind his back- he seemed like a different man standing there, radiating what he had ever sensed off his own father when the patriarch of the Vayne House had hoped to teach his lackadaisical second son how to be savage. How to subvert other Houses; because he wasn't the sole heir, his role was different... He seduced daughters to ruin political marriages, stole information and manipulated people to do his bidding, dismantled lesser rival Houses by disrupting their business through the cover of being a dishonorable lordling that wasn't expected to "know any better." Long enough that even he started to believe that was all to life for him- sleeping around, running from responsibility; it seemed fun at the time when he was first introduced to the concept.

The Corporal glared down at his shoes then, suddenly feeling the fool- he'd been played into that role... His father... was far more calculating than he had ever given him credit for. Gaius had used Cassius' vices to his advantage, introducing him to political rival's daughters, putting him in positions where the boy's lack of propriety allowed him to ruin lives in the least obvious way possible. He'd gossip with his father about conquests, what he'd heard over pillow-talk or even overheard when trying to sneak out; as though he'd been so clever to uncover such information.

"First lesson, Ray. Fight with what you're good at. I'm not sure how I'll teach you... But don't leave a paper trail- That, to DiMettrio, is like blood in the water for a shark."

"If we fight him in the open, he'll be forced to bring all his transgressions to the fore if he's doctoring anything. Then he'll have nothing to hide behind."

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Postby Commissar Cat » Wed May 16, 2018 2:13 pm

Cat furrowed his brow, "High Town's destruction was us?" he suddenly felt ice bloom in his stomach, and his hands gripped the desk as a wave of unease coursed through his body. Of course it was. Imperium's sledgehammer to crack a nut.

"I- I suppose I must have known-" he covered his mouth, shivering, eyes wide, his body jittering inside, reacting poorly to the stress, "They couldn't even evacuate? We-" Cat pressed his hands hard once again against the desk, trying to ground out the sensations of panic and adrenaline burning him alive.
After a few moments he could breathe again, though it felt more like hours.

"Do not tempt me with such knowledge. It's an ugly, ugly game," Cassius caught Cat's gaze, completely serious, "Perhaps it's naive of me to think I can succeed by honour alone, but don't tempt me to stoop to his level..."

Cat nodded, understanding Vayne's reticence to involve personal records. Or perhaps not truly understanding, but respecting it regardless. This was a new game to Yorke, after all. Existing players knew the rules. And it seemed here was the first line not to cross so readily.
Though it was clear that DiMettrio had no such qualms.

"Remember, Ray, that mountain of documents he had on you that he was willing to bring to bear... As soon as you start fighting him with paper, you're going to drown in it. That's his arena. The temptation to scandalize someone is tantalizing, I can understand this, because that little high you get from knocking someone down a few pegs... Feels good, doesn't it?"

Nearly shaking his head, Ray at the last moment kept his answer to himself. No.
He wasn't certain if Cassius was being rhetorical or honest, and the change in his aide's demeanor caused a twinge of guilt and fear inside the commissar, that he had sparked such an ugly feeling.

A sizeable part of Cat's affection for his aide had been the reluctance Vayne had displayed to harm others, even his enemies, instead employing his wits and slivers of courage.
But it had also been the small moments of honest joy and sometimes even tragic signs that something of a child, a boy, still existed in the younger man, that caused Yorke to take him to heart.
And through the commissar's constant mistakes, Cassius had been forced to bury those parts of himself further. Guilt sat in Cat's stomach like lead weights. But for now, Cat fought his reaction and won, keeping the grief from his face.

"First lesson, Ray. Fight with what you're good at. I'm not sure how I'll teach you... But don't leave a paper trail- That, to DiMettrio, is like blood in the water for a shark."

Good at... ?
Ray scanned his companion's face for signs of sarcasm. The guilt churned further in his stomach as he realised that it wasn't a joke, Cassius believed him capable in some area.
Racking his brain, Cat reasoned that it must be military law and protocol, and Guard systems. After all, that was his job, and despite appearances, he was proficient at navigating those.

"...I follow." he smiled weakly, "You need to remember, DiMettrio now has one foot in my world too. I know the military as well, if not better than most people. And Aesteban thinks me a lazy illiterate peasant. It wouldn't occur to him that I have ambition, or understanding of it."
Rolling his neck, Ray continued, "Not to mention that he now falls squarely under my jurisdiction. The Munitorum cannot shield him, it doesn't matter which poles he polishes, or whose back door he nestles in."

The commissar took no satisfaction in his next words, "You have seen the fear my uniform brings out in people. You've never seen why. Because the commissars here are tamed. They are not the monsters we are trained to be."

He reached out, and with his finger tips, simply undid a button by Vayne's throat, his chilled metallic fingers brushing against the underneath of the lad's chin.
With the blankest, least human expression he had ever worn in front of Cassius, Cat then pointed to the buttons, "Your uniform is untidy. I can now flog you, until I'm satisfied, or until you expire. I don't have to explain myself to anyone, not even to Holt."
The deadness in his dark eyes remained, "Knowledge may be power, but this is the Imperial Guard. I can do what I please, take what I please, and the only thing stopping me, you hope, is that I have a moral compass."

The softness returned to Cat's eyes, and with his organic, warm hand, he swiftly rebuttoned his aide's collar, "You know I wouldn't. He does not. Brutality is also power, here. In many cases, all there is."
Conceding, the commissar sighed, "I've already been ordered to make him feel like shit, so that he seeks out external help. I need your guidance if I'm to avoid that endangering you and the others I care about."

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Postby SilverRuby » Wed May 16, 2018 5:23 pm

Vayne watched the other's reactions to his words, to his thoughts spoken aloud, even body language. Carefully taking in the way that the Commissar fought the disgust. He'd been like that once too, but that had wholly made it easier once the 'weight of expectation' had been lifted and that sort of attention turned to his elder brother. Manipulated into doing exactly what Gaius had wanted in the first place. Now he'd come full circle...

Commissar Cat wrote:Nearly shaking his head, Ray at the last moment kept his answer to himself. No.
He wasn't certain if Cassius was being rhetorical or honest, and the change in his aide's demeanor caused a twinge of guilt and fear inside the commissar, that he had sparked such an ugly feeling.


When Yorke shook his head to deny pleasure at that little thrill, Cassius smiled a little in return, a sort of feral look with the way his teeth were bared- an expression more at home on Aesteban's face than his. Somehow, watching a member of the Imperial Guard... Realize and become horrified toward the atrocities wrecked upon his home was... deeply satisfying. To know that even they could be upset by what their faction had done to Naris. In an incredibly justified petty way, of course.

"You either learn to like it or you'll sink with those ceramite shackles of guilt, my friend. It's just politics."

Commissar Cat wrote:"...I follow." he smiled weakly, "You need to remember, DiMettrio now has one foot in my world too. I know the military as well, if not better than most people. And Aesteban thinks me a lazy illiterate peasant. It wouldn't occur to him that I have ambition, or understanding of it."


"Good. That's where you have an advantage where he isn't familiar... He underestimates you already. That means you still have the element of surprise," Cassius' expression softened, seemingly pleased that Yorke was starting to catch on. Picking one's fights to one's advantage was always the wisest guarantee of victory.

When Cat reached toward him with that strange look, Vayne flinched and looked down with an incredulous stare- this seemed like a really inappropriate action between superior officer and underling, for Cat to undo his collar. But the message was loud and clear- he could be personally violated in any way to the Commissar's whim if that was what the other wished. Cassius' own nobility and bloodline couldn't do a thing to save him, for his rank already damned him. He continued to stare down at the finger pointed at his clothing, then up at the other, soaking in the almost inhuman expression with a shiver of his own. Of course the Guard simply took whatever they wanted, damn the people who actually suffered destruction at the hands of their success. It was such raw, abuse-able power.

To be quite fair, even Cassius had underestimated how far Yorke could go, thinking that, well, sure, he'd never end up on the flogging end of the whip. There was still a mild thrill of fear that intensified his blood pressure briefly.

"The only moral compass the Guard knows is victory. A parallel concept when you want to come out on top," he mused softly.

As the Commissar redid his button and gently fixed his uniform, Vayne relaxed where he stood, dropping the cold, aristocratic demeanor with a puffed sigh, and he couldn't help but chuckle a little at Cat's tired concession.

"I don't know, Ray, look on the bright side, maybe it's time to start enjoying making him feel like shit, because he's gotta learn some humility some time. Think of it as a tough life lesson you're enriching him with," The younger man grinned a little, reaching out to pat Cat's shoulder encouragingly. Choice of words was very important.

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 17, 2018 8:59 am

Again, rather than stumble through, Cat listened attentively as his aide responded, the commissar trying not to make assumptions as to what those replies would be. At the vengeful grin, the commissar felt a little uneasy, indeed remembering the madness in Aesteban's face when he had expressed a similar glee in his rantings.
SilverRuby wrote:When Cat reached toward him with that strange look, Vayne flinched and looked down with an incredulous stare- this seemed like a really inappropriate action between superior officer and underling, for Cat to undo his collar. But the message was loud and clear- he could be personally violated in any way to the Commissar's whim if that was what the other wished.

Then to his shame, Cat observed Vayne's shutters going up as the commissar demonstrated the ease with which he could seize what he desired, and Cat wondered how much more guilt one stomach could hold.
Ray almost flinched, and looked down at the younger man's hand on his shoulder, something unfamiliar; kind, and given the context, distressing, in that Cat had no idea whether it were sincere or not.

Seeking to reassure his aide, placing his real hand lightly over Vayne's for a second. Cat replied, as he lowered it again, "I'm n- We know that was just an example- I'd never-" the older man's brow creased, recalling his last conversation with Vayne about Aesteban, "I meant it, what I said after that tribunal, Cassius. That I... trust... you... and as I do so, you're certainly not in any danger. Not from me."

"The only moral compass the Guard knows is victory. A parallel concept when you want to come out on top," he mused softly.
Reflecting on Vayne's words about the Guard, Ray hummed softly in his throat, "But I'm not- I'm not Guard." he ventured quietly, his eyes avoiding Vayne's, "Not truly. I'm a by-product of them, as much as the ruins of this city, or its displaced people."
Realising he was being obtuse, Ray gave the shortest explanation he could, frowning, an expression that was somewhat unfamiliar on his features, "Commissars are, with very few exceptions, Imperial war orphans. We are created by the massacres Imperial war leaves in their wake. Taken as children, raised without love, without family, indoctrinated to lead exclusively through terror, and give guardsman something to fear and hate... I'm no more one of them than you are. The difference is that, well, you could integrate, if you so wished. You'd be accepted."

He shook his head again, face clearing, "So I cannot allow myself to take satisfaction in causing suffering. Because it opens the door to the monster I was raised to be. I take a step closer to- to becoming what everyone already thinks I am."
Raising his eyes up, to meet Vayne's, Ray smiled ruefully, "Think of it like an addict who avoids their drug. It's not piety; it's desperation. Because when- if I develop a taste for blood, there's nothing anyone else can do to stop me from taking that pound of flesh."
There was a moment where the commissar truly met gaze with Cassius, the gates open, and the black terror of himself, visible behind his eyes, "Have you any idea what would happen, if I started to believe I had the right? Started hating people?"

"I don't know, Ray, look on the bright side, maybe it's time to start enjoying making him feel like shit, because he's gotta learn some humility some time. Think of it as a tough life lesson you're enriching him with,"

Glancing away, content to move the subject from his own fears, Cat swung back to his thought about integration, "Holt suggested that I set Aesteban up for counter intelligence by driving a wedge between him and the guard. I'm not sure how to begin, but I'll work on some ideas. And likewise if I'm to help you, then we need to consider your future here, too." he rubbed his hand over an eye tiredly, "Handing you a promotion is well within my ability. But you earning one, and being universally known that you deserved it, well then that's something even DiMettrio can't take away. He will undoubtedly seek a commission. But outside of dinner parties that commands all the respect of a wet fart with guardsmen."

Yorke smiled, and whilst not the devious, dangerous grin of nobility, something of a bright, conniving edge to it, "Walk in both worlds, Cassius, become the man of your people, and become a respected man amongst ours. People are drawn to you, for good reasons. Show them the truth; that their faith isn't misplaced, and they will mirror your strengths, and fight for you."

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Postby SilverRuby » Thu May 17, 2018 10:34 am

The attempt to motivate Cat into accepting his new role had been a sincere one, but Vayne finally understood Cat's reticence towards enjoying a little suffering. It made a lot more sense with that prickle of fear. Not to mention... The other's truthful explanation certainly explained Makarov's tunnel vision on the 'necessity' of war. It was a good perspective to understand. He wouldn't tempt Yorke with it again.

When Cat seemed unsure if Cassius believed him, that he would be safe from the monster within, the younger man squeezed the Commissar's shoulder. He hadn't removed his hand. I do believe you.

"I see that was a bad suggestion... But you understand that he needs it, too...? You've all opened my eyes... He needs that too, or else we are all chattle to him."

"...For good for for worse this is my world now, too... I accept that."

Vayne acknowledged it, the very thing he had been trying to run from with no solution in hand. The mention of promotion brought a more intimidated than pleased look to the young Corporal's face. The idea that Yorke planted certainly came with a lot of strings attached, outside of the office he treated as a haven.

Becoming a man of the people... It was never something he had wanted but all the pieces on the board were set up in the right place. He just had to make the next move. Only he could do so to earn his place.

Cassius was unsure, not at all confident in his ability to succeed there... He had a lot to learn, and a part of him wanted to keep running.

Sliding his hand up Cat's shoulder, Vayne gently gripped the nape of the elder's neck, bringing the other's eyes up to meet his. No games, no defense, it was a sincere search in Yorke's eyes. He needed to know before he was willing to step off the ledge and master the beast of ambition that he had avoided; that his father had hoped he would reach out and grasp for once.

"You understand the ugliness that I hide now... I've shown you but a taste of my world... Do you trust me? If I were to grasp true power, could you trust me to do the right thing?"

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 17, 2018 12:37 pm

Having found an understanding, relief flooded Cat's system. The jitters prowling his system subsided, chased away by Vayne's hand, and the reassurance that the young man believed him.

"...!" all coherent thoughts currently roaming through Ray's brain scattered to the winds as the aide raised his hand and held his commissar's neck. The dark eyes that met Vayne's were wide and startled, but not with fear. Cat having finally revealed how isolated commissars were by nature, someone had then physically bridged that gap, voluntarily. Ray was totally thrown.
The gears span loosely for a moment, and then clicked back into place.

"I have absolute trust in this," Cat raised his own hand and placed his fingers against roughly the area of Vayne's heart, maintaining eye contact, "and in your intentions."
Using the same hand to brush aside a little of Vayne's hair, he placed the same fingers at the corporal's temple, "But you will need to crystalise what's up here. Decide what Cassius wants, and don't lose sight of that."

Lowering the hand, and breaking the moment, Cat stood from his stoop on the desk, and smiling at the sudden height difference for a moment, closed the gap between the pair, and pulled Vayne into an inescapable embrace.
"You shall have my support, whatever you choose to do. Whatever you need me to do." the commissar spoke into the others shoulder, "I am your shield until the day you no longer have call for it."

Pulling back slightly, Ray stayed smiling, "And even then I shall have your back, but I aim to see that day arrive." there was the start of a brightness returned to Cat's manner, that had been lacking for some time.

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Postby SilverRuby » Thu May 17, 2018 2:57 pm

Peace.

And Duty.


The words were very clear in his head when Cat touched his brow. Vayne closed his eyes with relief when he realized that he had Yorke's full support in the endeavor, and relaxed into the embrace without hesitation. He knew he had a duty to the people of Valmaria. Perhaps he'd been placed in the very position he needed to be in, on the path the Emperor intended for him to walk. He'd been given from his family into His service; it all came together, stark and clear with no little significance.

Commissar Cat wrote:"You shall have my support, whatever you choose to do. Whatever you need me to do." the commissar spoke into the others shoulder, "I am your shield until the day you no longer have call for it."


While Cassius appreciated the honest words, and they bolstered his heart, his mind was already spinning up plots and schemes, and he stepped away from the other, looking distracted. Not to discount the significance of Cat's joy and support, his hand was on his chin as he walked away from the Commissar, his other tucked into the small of his back. He'd forgotten to thank Yorke, suddenly steeped with newfound inspiration. It was a different feeling altogether.

Ambition.

"I have some ideas... Probably bad ones." He murmured, as though speaking to himself to confirm their existence, unsure as he was at how effective they could be. Despite the refreshing jolt of motivation, he was still cautious.

After a long pause, Vayne turned to stare at Cat, serious but unguarded, and genuinely asking for help. It was rather unusual for him to address the elder in such a way, he'd never even considered a career path within the Imperial Guard.

"But what would get me a promotion? I'm pretty sure sitting around looking pretty in your office isn't actually gaining me any good marks for the other officers. My combat record isn't exactly... stellar."

"... It also would not exactly help my bid if I looked like I put out... favours... on my way up the ladder," Cassius grimaced, suddenly, painfully self-aware of his appearance to others.

It was also clear to Vayne now, that if he were to involve Cat in his machinations, he had to be honest. There wouldn't be any more veils to pull over eyes, or suggestions and passive probing to get the other to preserve loyalty.

Reaching for his pocket, he pulled out the small pouch of precious items he'd accrued on his person, like his signet ring that felt like it weighed so much more in his palm.

Cassius looked at the velveteen pouch for a moment, before reaching inside and pulling out a gold coin, the one that Raymond had given to him, and pushed it into Yorke's organic hand before closing the other's fingers around it and holding Cat there. The look on the Corporal's face was apologetic.

"I won't be needing this anymore." He murmured, knowing full well he was giving up a promise that was made to him in confidence; It was his choice where to spend that 'coin'.

"He requested that I not tell you... But I won't hide anything from you any longer."

It was all in, or nothing.

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 17, 2018 4:15 pm

"He's still here, huh." there was a soft chuckle. If Vayne had expected outrage, disappointment, or to have otherwise shaken his chances of Cat's help, it seemed not to be the case.
The commissar didn't look at the coin in his palm; he didn't need to. Instead he very gently took Vayne's hands in his own, and returned the heavy disc, "Don't be so fast to push away his favour... Put it in the safe if you don't wish to carry it. The keys are still in the ugly teapot."
Ray considered, "There will be somebody, some time, that you may wish to present this to. It also counts as being under the protection of an old Rogue Trader house."

"But thank you." before letting go, Cat gave a light squeeze to the younger man's hand, "It... means a lot that you'd let me know."

The commissar could sense the confusion radiating from Cassius, "My- my grandfather is not a bad man. He is a good man who made a poor choice. One that I, perhaps childishly, can't forgive. But that doesn't mean I don't love him. Or that I don't trust him." Cat smiled ruefully, "I promise I will explain, when I feel able." of all people, Ray knew that Vayne understood acutely how speaking about family history was difficult, "Today, we look to the future."

"As for your promotion, your work here, while excellent, doesn't prove any experience in leading others. It would be a long task to graduate you to something like a sergeant." Cat rubbed his chin, "But... How familiar are you with quartermasters?"
He watched Vayne with curiosity, "That I can justify from your work here. You'd still handle requisition requests. You would still work from here, but you would also be occasionally dealing face to face with guard. From lieutenants to privates, if they wanted something urgently, they would have to come to you."
The commissar pointed to the desk, "Hell, half of what you already- There's a huge overlap in the types of request, and I or Zoya end up signing off on all of them regardless. It's also side-stepping the bottom of the ladder and from there-"

"I mean, if that appeals." Cat realised he'd gotten ahead of himself considerably. He then froze, "Any promotion would also mean that I'd have to speak to Joycia. Err, Perray."
Who was last seen dragging myself and a Krieger around Candlemass... At least that's a positive memory. Cat swallowed, "She at least seems reasonable. Friendly. Leave that with me."

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Postby SilverRuby » Tue May 29, 2018 11:26 am

Vayne held the coin as it was returned gently to him, and he couldn't help the slightly shamed twist to his lip. Ever since Yorke had dragged him out to the shed to relieve pent up frustrations in private, he'd come out with new personal resolutions. Not to mention the upcoming training with the Katavarians to make up for his own transgressions adding to that resolve.

Becoming a man worthy of his people, and his peers' admiration was about the most important thing that Cassius was determined to do in his young life... But boy were those big steps to take. A part of him didn't quite understand what it was about himself that drew people to him.

"You don't understand how much this coin represents temptation for something I need to throw away." Cassius spoke softly before he pulled away to find the keys. He stowed the coin away with several other private secret effects, before locking the safe.

Commissar Cat wrote:"But... How familiar are you with quartermasters?"


"I'm familiar enough with the role of one in my home before all this... Not too dissimilar, I think, and if it's as you say, a sidestep from my current work... I think I can do it," the younger man looked at Cat with a more confident smile, relieved that there was at least some avenue to take that wouldn't (necessarily) be filled with a lot of sweat and tears on his part.

At the mention of Perray, Vayne looked a little embarrassed, stuffing his hands in his pockets. He glanced up at Yorke sheepishly.

"Er... Do you think she's forgiven me for my idiocy at Stultus just yet? In hindsight I more than deserved the lash over playing medicae with DiMettrio..."

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Postby Commissar Cat » Tue May 29, 2018 6:37 pm

"You do what you need to, I can't judge." Cat didn't watch Cassius stow his coin, instead remaining sat on his desk, commissar knowing his aide well enough, confident Vayne would be conscientious of the contents.
Despite the safe taking up a large part of the desk base, Vayne would find it largely empty. It would seem, like the corporal, Cat had little of his past life to carry with him.

A shallow top shelf was packed tightly with small, vanilla envelopes, some clearly quite old, some bound together. These had been briefly explained to Cassius as an early and important part of his induction. They were the final letters home for the 183rd and those entrusted to Yorke's care. Since arriving on Valmaria, thankfully, neither man had need to retrieve one.

The main, thin wooden shelf of the safe was almost bare, and clutter free. Notably though, Cassius would see shoved to one side, a couple of large coins, much like his own, but much more dark, tarnished. Whilst his had a worn, bright smoothness from being carried by the seneschal, these had the blackened edge of metal left unattended for some time. Behind the coins, stuffed unceremoniously as far back was possible, was a jumbled mess of medals. Unrecognisable to the corporal, aside from a flash of colour - the recently tossed in Medallion Crimson, and Eagle Ordinary.

On the other end of the shelf, quite deliberately separated from the items treated with disdain, was simply a leather-clad ring box, burgandy, well aged and darkened with wear. It was out of place amongst the regular fare of Cat's office. To Vayne's eyes as a noble, made from materials that were clearly a cut above the cardboard and fibre boxes used by a common merchant, or indeed the lifestyle to which Yorke himself abided. The top bore a deep stamped impression, at some point the recesses would have been gilded; but now it only had specks of golden print, the symbol unrecognisable for what it once was.

The bottom shelf held an empty plastic tray for sorting loose coins, a small bundle of papers, and a sealed bottle of, from the grim colour, insultingly cheap, off-world whiskey.

"I'm familiar enough with the role of one in my home before all this... Not too dissimilar, I think, and if it's as you say, a sidestep from my current work... I think I can do it,"


"I'm certain you can. I wouldn't have suggested something out of your reach." Yorke smiled, "And it's not a trial by fire. If you struggle, folk will assist you." the commissar hoped, after the last week's events, and his promise just now, that Vayne understood that he was supported.

"Er... Do you think she's forgiven me for my idiocy at Stultus just yet? In hindsight I more than deserved the lash over playing medicae with DiMettrio..."


"Flirting and literally tweaking the nose of a jumped up file clerk? Oh Cassius-" Cat broke into a soft laugh, relieved that the subject had shifted to something he understood once more, "I think that made her day! I don't think she was ever truly angry." he grinned.
He rubbed his chin, "I think Perray will also appreciate us coming to her with an honest request, rather than me giving you a leg up and bypassing her. It shows our trust in her as your leader."

He paused, "But she will undoubtedly have heard about what happened in the gym tent. And that means this training day with Urdnot- the Katavarians, you must truly try your best, and remember who you're representative of. Not just you and me. But her Cadian pride too."
No pressure.

Seeing the worry flicker behind Vayne's eyes, Cat attempted to reassure him, "She's not going to be mad about the punch. That's probably how some Cadians greet one another, and Perray isn't petty enough to care if you're heard to be rough-housing. She will care if the training day is heard to be a laughing stock."
The commissar smiled, "But again, I wouldn't set you to something beyond your reach. And I'll be joining you during the history lesson."

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Postby SilverRuby » Wed May 30, 2018 12:33 pm

The Corporal didn't give any mind to the various personal paraphernalia that Yorke had amassed over time in the safe, as well as the collection of letters. He, too, had been relieved thus far that he hadn't had to dig up the one that likely would have been addressed to Raymond Yorke Sr....

"Ray, I'm not Ca-..." Vayne started, protesting, before he looked down at his own uniform- no longer the Narisian PDF colours. But painfully Cadian, having been folded into the 58th Mechanized unit after the schism... And he couldn't help but feel the pressure of further expectation set on his shoulders. He sat heavily in Yorke's chair, setting his elbows on the Commissar's desk and his face in his hands for a moment.

"A-Alright, alright. Yes, I'm part of the Cadian unit," Cassius started, huffing, and quashing down the insulted pride of his Valmarian heritage being pushed aside for what would be a steep path ahead. He rubbed his face, then ran his fingers through his hair, gripping the short strands at the nape of his neck as he stared at the desktop, steeling himself.

Resolve. Duty. Icandoit- I must do it.

"Right, training; Not something I haven't done before, though perhaps in a different capacity... I'll do my best," sitting up straight-backed, the Corporal met Yorke's eyes over the desk, setting his hands in his own lap. After a pause, he raised an eyebrow, mildly bewildered, "What history lesson?"

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 31, 2018 4:31 am

"Like I said, you have one foot in each world-" Cat smiled as he shifted off the edge of the desk, and turned to observe Cassius sitting behind it. The sight gave the commissar pause. He wasn't sure if it was impressive or unnerving how naturally the young man fit into the position, despite the weight of responsibility taxing Vayne's posture.

Seeing the open ambition rise in someone he regarded as both his charge and his friend, had been at the very least, confusing. But not surprising, and that was what gave Cat pause. He'd somehow seen the barest hints of it in Cassius, from the frustration at the occupation, to the resentment of cruelty from those in power such as Aesteban. The commissar had meant his words about trusting Vayne, but a seed of concern settled in his being. Not that Cassius would intentionally harm others, but that Cat was perhaps not well prepared to help him with that resentment and anger. As an outsider to both guard and Naris, Cat's guidance could only ever come from observation, rather than understanding.
But, he accepted, it was the best that he could offer for now.

Realising he'd been amiably staring at Vayne for a moment as he thought, Yorke blinked, "There will be a discussion, too. After the morning drill. You remember how Commissar Wittman suggested we learn about other regiments and to better work together? Urdnot and I thought that learning about their philosophy would be beneficial, and, well... I thought as someone who had a classical education, you might find their stories interesting. They are knights, after all..." a familiar innocent expression was visible in Cat's embarrassed smile, "You must think I'm babying you. I just thought that their heritage and entirely different type of nobility could be worth listening to."

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Postby SilverRuby » Thu May 31, 2018 9:54 am

Vayne stared back as Yorke looked at him, patiently waiting for an answer. Though as the other seemed to pause in thought, he relaxed a bit into Cat's chair with his arms on the rests and crossing his legs with an ankle resting on his knee (a rather informal gesture if you would...). It would seem that in the Commissar's previous absence he had gotten comfortable in the position he'd been placed.

Commissar Cat wrote:"You must think I'm babying you. I just thought that their heritage and entirely different type of nobility could be worth listening to."


"Not really..." Cassius started, tilting his head slightly in interest, "but knowing more about the other regiments does benefit me... At the very least, understanding them culturally. That way I can adapt."

"It does behoove me to learn of their nobility and ranks. Hell, I had no idea about the Cadians until Krast pointed it out to me-" he waved a hand like it was an inconsequential topic, "Hawke and Levi were fucking with me then, don't think too much on it..." It wasn't often that Vayne actually spoke of his own interpersonal relations on base. Seldom did he actually voice anything personal at all, so it was a start, to trusting Yorke with his own private information. It was a step towards opening up.

"Er..." Vayne glanced up at Cat, "You're not suggesting I make my way through all the regiments like some village bicycle of scholarship... Are you? I mean the Kriegers..."

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 31, 2018 12:34 pm

Something akin to a knowing smile crept across Cat's face, "Of course not. Just the ones with social influence. The ones people listen to." displaying an unusual amount of cynicism, he made a small gesture, "The ones to be seen with."
The smile spread to a small smirk, "As for the... Hah... Bicycle... image? well... You rather made that bed for yourself." definitely a smirk, now, "I can only try to help you climb out of it."

It would seem that Yorke had at least some understanding of Vayne's reputation, despite never mentioning it. His patient eyes rested on his aide's, smirk fading, "Everyone has their coping mechanisms. If yours is the warmth of humanity then so be it, there are far worse! But you have to understand how that looks... How it... Looks for me to have you here."
Cat swallowed, lowering his eyes, "I-I'm not unaware of what some people think I get out of this situation, either. And while I wouldn't be remotely shamed if it were true, it's not fair that anyone discredit the work you actually put in, here. You more than carry your weight, and for the longest time, much of mine."

He rubbed a hand over his eyes, "That's why we have to be seen to do the right thing, publicly with Perray." Ray sighed, "Friends, comrades, partners, whatever people suspect... Your promotion needs to be clearly irrelevant to that. And the only way is to involve someone with a reputation for seeing right through bullshit and brown-nosing like Joycia does."

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Postby SilverRuby » Thu May 31, 2018 1:04 pm

Whatever smirk had sat on Vayne's face in return to Yorke's retort equally faded into a rather ashamed frown when the Commissar made it known that he was well aware of the younger man's rather loose reputation.

"Er... Um... Well... Sorry-" He started, tugging at his collar a bit, feeling some of the heat of flushed embarrassment seeping from his face down to his neckline. Cat had mentioned that he wouldn't have been shamed if whatever suspected relations were true, and part of Cassius' thoughts ground to a halt. As far as he understood, they were good friends, despite Yorke being his commanding officer. The line was drawn pretty thick in the sand.

Looking away, the young Corporal stood up from where he was sitting and crossed back to his half of the office, awkwardly fussing with the things on his desk. Could it have been a possibility? He pushed the thought away, flustered.

"I ne-... Throne, I never meant for you to look bad on my behalf..." Vayne offered, looking up at Cat, still blushing and wondering if he couldn't possibly feel guiltier with every new truth unveiled to him about his situation. Or helpless. Or useless.

"O-Or that I was..." Cassius shook his head, making a less-than-polite gesture with his hand, "-With you."

"I just didn't want to die. I didn't want to get sent out there again like Stultus- I didn't..." He confessed, looking up at Cat with a lost expression that seemed unfamiliar on his face, normally shrouded with confidence and cavalier apathy, "I thought it would be safer here. In an office. With you. Even if it's boring as sin to do paperwork."

"I know Junior Commissar Makarov gave you shit about taking me at the start... I could hear through the door-" Vayne looked down at the papers he was trying to straighten with distracted, futile movements. "I'm not oblivious."

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Postby Commissar Cat » Thu May 31, 2018 1:45 pm

Cat realised his rambling had made Vayne uncomfortable, and his mouth tightened to a small frown of worry, as he bit his lip in concern. This was inappropriate discussion. But it was at least, out in the open, and not in anger.
He listened and was unsure which concern to address first. The one that weighed most heavily seemed to be the corporal's reluctance to fight.

"Cassius, I knew that. I saw you fail to shoot anything. I saw you hesitate to harm." Yorke said softly, "But I didn't see cowardice. I saw someone wrestling with massive, unfamiliar moral decisions that were pushed onto them." he raised his eyes, "And I heard you fight for your friends when you thought we were in danger."

Sighing, Yorke sat again on the edge of the desk, his back to Vayne, allowing the other some privacy, as much as Cat, "I envy pacifism. Never be ashamed of it being a difficult choice to harm or kill. It should be."
Raising a hand to his eyes again, the commissar murmured, "And perhaps I'm jealous of you, because it's something lost to me. I can pretend I value life, and that I don't want to harm people. But I don't remember- I'm not sure if I understand it any more."

After a moment he glanced over his shoulder, before looking straight ahead again, drifting to the other subject, "You don't make things hard for me. And even if you did, I value your company over what other people think of me. I don't answer to them. I answer to myself, my command, and the God Emperor alone."

He lowered his head, "But Zo- Makarov had some choice words on the subject of how I shelter you, and possesses rather... Clear views on what it would mean if I ever- ...one of the issues being the impossibility of genuine consent with someone who could murder you for any chosen reason."
For the first time in the conversation, Cat faltered, "And that's why I ca-..." he swallowed a few times, and his voice still cracked, "Not only you. Anyone."

If it were possible for a nearly seven foot man to look small, Ray had succeeded, somehow, his hands balled in his lap, staring at the carpet, "This was so inappropriate, I'm sorry."


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