Kate Williams HATED this kind of shit. The sandy brown haired woman stood in dress uniform, her police blues crisp and neat, even as the mayor blathered on about the city and it's heroic police. She was up on the stage with a dozen other officers, all receiving commendations for their actions over the Christmas bombing incidents.
Two other officers were each named and went up, receiving a written commendation and a handshake from the mayor, then it was her turn. John Brown was a big man, muscular, but in Kate's opinion was pretty weak in personality, guided too much by opinion poles. He blathered on about Kate's heroic background, and her taking command in the crisis.
'Wonder why Gwen isn't up here getting a award?' Kate mused, but she knew why. The mayor was too worried about her getting political ambitions.
"Kate has overcome personal challenges to become a great police officer," John concluded, "one I'm proud to be honouring today."
Kate grit her teeth at the mention of her past, but managed to fight down the impulse to knee him in the balls. "Sir," she nodded as he put the medal tab on her uniform then gave her the commendation for valour and leadership.
"Well done," John shook her hand and moved on.
The applause from the crowd once the ceremony was done was deafening, and Kate did her best not to bolt from the stage as cameras flashed. She HATED this crap! She swept the crowd with her eyes and was steadied to see a beaming Jen Grayson in the crowd, along with Alexis and Naru, all three women sitting near the front rows. Kate wasn't sure if it was a good thing that she was happy to see her psychiatrist there, but Alexis wanted to come and Kate didn't mind.
One the order was given for the officers to break formation, the group was swarmed by their various friends and families. "Congratulations," Jen grinned as they pulled away from the crowd.
"Ah," Kate waved it off, "it's all just political crap."
"Now, now," Alexis looked amused, her black hair styled a bit more fancily for the event, "while it may be political, you earned that award."
"She's right," Naru agreed.
"Gwen and Beth wanted to come too," Jen told her as they walked to their waiting cars, "but someone has to watch the base."
"No problem," Kate nodded. And honestly, having Gwen and the mayor at a event together would probably result in them getting mobbed by press. Speaking of the media, Kate winced as she saw several newsies hurrying over to them.
"Want us to run interference while you get away?" Naru offered bravely.
"No," Kate chuckled, "but thanks for the offer."
Three reporters had decided Kate might be newsworthy, and all three were from the tabloid press. One woman was a type Kate recognized from covering sex scandals, another was a political ambulance chaser and the last guy looked like a gossip writer. None looked terribly responsible, so Kate waited to see what they'd hit her with.
"Diane Ross, ACNT Newsfeed," the blonde with clearly fake tits introduced herself, "you have had a very antagonistic relationship with androids in the past. What is your opinion of the mayor's refusal to invade Lowtown and liberate the city?"
"Aren't those two separate issues?" Kate asked before shaking her head. "Anyway, I'm a serving police officer, ma'am. I can't comment on policy decisions, you'd need to talk to the commissioner or the mayor."
Miss Ross looked disappointed but before she could throw another zinger the older gent stepped up. "Jack Takahata, NEXT News," he said briskly, "congratulations on your award. I'm sure you deserve it, but what do you think of all the other officers who were passed over for recognition?"
"Thank you," Kate said dryly. She thought a moment, "I'm sure there are many officers who deserve recognition, but we don't do the job for the applause. We do it to serve and protect."
"How noble," Jack said disdainfully.
"Hazuki Tennant, PACE Reporting," the redhead butted in, "rumours are circulating you're seeing a woman in Lowtown. What do you say?"
Kate gave Hazuki a narrow look, wondering if the woman had heard about Silver, or was just fishing. Either way, she wasn't going to answer that. "I'm sorry," she said formally, "but my personal life is none of your business."
Hazuki actually flinched under Kate's gaze, and before she could recover Kate and her friends pushed by them, hurrying for the cars. Deciding they weren't going to get anything more from her the three reporters looked for another victim.
"You kept your temper very well," Jen noted mildly, "though I think you wanted to pop that last one in the face."
"I was tempted," Kate growled as they reached the cars. She nodded to Alexis as she got in her vehicle, "Thanks for coming, I appreciated it."
"It's nice to see you getting some recognition," then teasingly Alexis added, "we'll talk about how uncomfortable you are with that next session."
"Oh joy," Kate rolled her eyes as Alexis chuckled and headed off.
Naru, Kate and Jen climbed into the cruiser that they had taken to the event together. Jen got into the driver's seat before Kate could, so the senior officer got into the passenger side as Naru climbed into the back.
"She seems nice for a head-shrinker," Naru noted mildly as they manoeuvred through the parking area and out onto the road.
"Yeah, she's not bad," Kate admitted grudgingly.
"She interviewed me after I joined the unit," Jen agreed, "she's really nice." Changing the topic she looked at Kate, "Want me to drop you off anywhere?"
"Nah, I think I'll come to the station," Kate decided.
"Isn't it your day off?" Naru asked pointedly.
"I have no life," Kate shrugged. With a frown she added, "Besides, there's paperwork I need to catch up on before Gwen gives me heck."
"You can use hell around me," Naru noted with amusement as Jen tried not to chuckle.
Kate scowled, "Shuddup."
Silver watched the coverage of the awards ceremony on her old holographic television, feeling a pang at seeing Kate there on the screen. It had been weeks since Kate had rescued her from her wrecked apartment and took her to the aid station, and she was surprised at how much she missed the tough police officer.
Things had been pretty crazy, then. The undercity had been rocked by violence, the worst of them trying to do all the things they normally couldn't. There had been rapes, murders and robberies, often prompted by the smallest things. But the leaders of the underground got control eventually, and now things had settled down a lot.
Silver watched Kate get jumped by the news media and giggled at how cranky the officer looked. If a 'death glare' actually killed, those three would be dead. She clicked around trying to find the interviews themselves, but none of the channels she could get had it.
About a hour later Silver was at the medical clinic, where she had gotten employment after seeking shelter there after a attack. It was funny, really, but working on the streets had oddly prepared her for being a nurse. She was patient, able to read people and most importantly could handle almost any sort of situation.
Jack Thorne sighed as Silver checked his arm, examining the forearm carefully. He was sitting in a exam chair in the former clinic, the old man looking at her thoughtfully. "How's it look?" he asked her curiously.
"The break is healing up nicely," Silver reassured him. "You'll be able to use your arm just fine, and the reinforced cast should protect it nicely."
"Thanks," Jack flexed his fingers carefully. "You did pretty well, fixing me up after I fell," he conceded after a moment.
"I'm glad you're okay," Silver patted his arm then excused herself.
The new 'hospital' was several floors in the building the small clinic had been, re-purposed for their use. Crews had knocked down dividing walls to make wards, sterile rooms were created for operating theatres and anyone with medical training was recruited for staff. They were paid by the new provisional government in confiscated currency, though there was talk of introducing their own money.
Silver patrolled the ward, stopping in at each injured man or woman, giving a few words if they were awake or just making sure they were fine if asleep. They had mixed luck with injuries following the riots... it was mostly either minor injuries or fatal ones. There wasn't much between those extremes.
Dr. Ross clunked by with his cane, the grizzled old doctor having been 'retired' and living in a alcoholic haze in a Lowtown hotel. He had been practically abducted and dried out, and now was their chief of medicine, to his general annoyance. Daily he bitched about wanting to get back to his drinking, yet every day he came back. Silver rather thought he was glad to be needed again, even if he hated to admit it.
"You saw the old man at the end of the ward?" Ross asked bluntly.
"His life signs are falling," Silver conceded as they sat by a desk at the other end of the room, "I don't think he's coming out of the coma."
"We need to take him off the feeding tube," Ross said grimly, "all we're doing is making him hang on."
"He could still...," Silver started.
"He's a vegetable," Ross cut her off, "he took a severe blow to the back of his head and pulped his brains." A bit more gently he said, "There was some hope when he first came in that it wasn't that bad, but that time has passed. He's totally unresponsive, we get nothing on EEG and the one working scanner we have shows the internal damage. He;s gone."
Silver opened her mouth to protest more, then closed it with a sigh. "You're right, of course," she conceded, "but... we're all he has to speak for him. If he has family at all it's Uptown, and we can't find any of them. I just feel someone has to defend him."
Ross sighed. "I sometimes think Androids are better than most humans," he noted to no one in particular. He looked at Silver, "You have to remember something: most humans are scum."
"They are not," Silver protested.
Ross shook his head, "What was the first thing people did when the lights went out down here? Rob, rape and rampage. No, I'm sorry, we're scum."
Ross clumped off on his cane, probably to do the opposite of what he just said and try to help someone in need. People fascinated her, they always had, it was why she had become a escort, and now it was why she was a nurse.
With a sigh Silver got up and walked to the end bed where the old man was dying, slowly. If they were going to disconnect him, the least she could do was keep him company.
To be continued...
Notes: Mentioned Kate was getting a award, so wanted to cover that. May or may not use the reporters again, depending on where the plot goes.