(2018-10-29) Job Talk III
Bianca explains her 'arrest'…but she's not in trouble.

It's time for Heather to catch up with her top investigate reporter and find out what she's been up to, who she has upset, and how much to put aside for legal fees. The boss, in slacks and jumper, sits at the big production desk signing some papers - paperwork is still paper sometimes. Bianca has been informed to go straight in when she arrives.

"Why do I constantly feel like I'm getting called to the Principal's Office? Have I been baaaaaaaaad?" Bianca Malice, ACE Reporter (or so she acts like), glides into her boss' office like a movie star coming from her latest on-set star-studded performance. Instead of almost going to jail the day before yesterday.

But the IMPORTANT thing is that she got the report done. And kickass footage to boot!
"I'm half expecting to get a paddling and half-expecting to get a promotion."

The blonde wears a faded, dark-blue t-shirt under a brown leather jacket, having come straight in from the cold of her car (whose fucking heat is out!), and a pair of distressed jeans. It must be Casual Day. Or maybe Laundry Day. Perhaps even I'm Not On Camera So I have No Fucks Left To Give Day. A pair of large-rimmed, dark sunglasses are slid off of her nose as she tosses her oversized purse into one of the available sits in front of the desk. She doesn't take the other, remaining standing.

"You really need some plants in here to liven things up." Her hands fritter about like a plant-summoning sorceress, waggling her fingers to indicate the areas so destined for flora. "Fake ones. So you don’t have to water them or keep them in the sun."

"If you feel that way when we talk, Bianca, then you've probably been bad. Sounds like a guilty conscience" Heather smirks before pushing away the signed papers. "This is just a regular catch-up. I'm interested in what you've been doing. It helps me put in context phone calls I get from Jerry telling me that you've been arrested."

Heather leans back in her chair, uncaring whether Bianca sits or stands. "That was quite the night by the way. You were lucky you didn't come to the party. Missed the whole mad bomber thing." A wave of her hand as she dismisses such things as if they are a regular occurrence. "And when I finally got to the station to bail you out, you were never even put in jail." Her eyes narrow a touch, though more curious than angry. "Did you bribe the chief? Want a drink?"

Heather rises to get herself one regardless. "I'm not sure whether you'd prefer a paddling or a promotion" she smirks as she pours a vodka shot. "So, what I heard was that you broke a police line to contaminate a crime scene. You also took explicit footage of grisly murders, without any thought to the effect it would have on relatives and loved ones. You then broadcast that footage over the internet, without warnings, promoting it using KCC1. That one got the FCC all upset in particular." She turns to look at the other woman, a sip of vodka before she continues. "Is all that reasonably correct? If so…good work."

A shake of her head about the plants. "I have enough bills without worrying about plants, fake or otherwise. Staff can bring them in if they want…and be responsible for them."

"This word 'conscience', I'm unclear on its meaning." Bianca smiles that wide, dazzling smile of hers, the one that charms the camera with her dimples, teasingly. "Please explain it to me!"
The forefingers of both hands raise in the air at the mention of the goings-on of the Halloween party. "Yeah, I was busy getting kind-of, sort-of arrested. But not at all sorry I missed that! Sounds like it was a crisis diverted, either way. Probably put a big, giant buzzkill on the whole shebang, anyway. Did they ever find out if the bomb was active or a dud?"

At the mention of a drink, the blonde head simply bobs two or three times shallowly in the universal symbol for 'yes', a tight-lipped smile of gratitude for some hard liquor on her face. That small smile somehow looks more genuine than her big, bombastic grins ever did. "Oh, I have my ways with Chief Chen. We have an uneasy understanding. She doesn't arrest me, I don't run reports of her being an enemy of the press."

"Can't I have both?" Bianca quips back, her brow quirked in amusement as he finally slides into an empty seat, crossing one leg over the other. "That's…" Bianca grimaces a little, looking away and out of a window instead. "When you line it all up like that, almost sounds kind of bad. I didn't contaminate shit, though, don't let Chen get you all worked up. At most I left a footprint. If they wanted to keep the crime scene secure, they'd put uniforms on the perimeter who aren't stupid enough to be charmed by moi!"

The reporter gestures at herself with a hand, indicating herself from head to toe. "Thanks. I try my best. The public needed to know. Besides, the shit I saw in there, fuck, Heather… it's the kind of thing you don't unsee. It looked almost… ritualistic. I think I overhead something about it being interrupted. He was trying to kill his daughters next."

"Definitely a real bomb" Heather sighs, "And if my sources are to be believed, related to the cult killings of the Jiminez and Morris families. Not sure about the Chavez one you were at though. The M.O. is not quite the same. Almost as if the suspect, the father, wanted to make it look like it was related. But that's for the cops to figure out." She wrinkles her nose in a wry smile. "Or a good investigative reporter."

A martini for Beezy before Heather resumes her seat. "Should I ask about what ways you have for the Chief? Anything that's going to interfere with your ability to report on her or her department? There's a line you don't want to cross, Bianca. Keep it professional. Exchange favors, sure, but not if it means you end up lying to the people or hiding something important."

A snort of amusement at Bianca's defense of her actions. "I don't think you can use 'they didn't stop me' as an excuse for why you did something illegal. Certainly not in court. But, thanks to your special relationship, we don't have to worry about judges for now. And, if we ever do, I'll take it on. Just make sure you keep me up to date with honest reports so I can defend you properly. Okay?"

"Chen doesn't keep me up, I promise. She's in a position of authority but there's always someone above. If she does her job, then I've got nothing against her. If she tries to stop us doing our job, then we'll see what happens." Heather considers Bianca, is that concern on her face? "You okay, Bianca? Shit like that is hard to take. If you need to take a break or talk to someone…"

"Yyyyyeah, this is one of those rabbit holes I'm not quite so sure I want to go down." Bianca mutters, leaning back in her seat with a slight slouch. "These ones are creepy, boss. I'm keeping my ear to the ground, but so far we're just responding to after-the-facts. I've been searching for anything that might pull up a lead on these things, but so far the closest I've gotten was catching that 9-1-1 call on the police scanner at the Chavez place."

The blonde takes the martini in both hands, her face lighting up like a kid opening a present. She tosses her head back and half the glass is gone in an instant. "Relax, Chen and I are just… juuuuuust… friends? Maybe? In that neither-of-us-really-trust-each-other, keep-butting-heads kind of way? Maybe mutual respect? We don't talk much outside of the job. My way with her is the same as how I get things out of almost anyone: A big, fake smile and a whole lotta bullshit."

"Nothing is going to get in the way of my reporting. Believe me, she was NOT happy about my take on the situation. Very protective of her men, didn't appreciate my insinuations that it was there fault there were fatalities. But… what can I say? If they hadn't waited, Mrs Chavez would probably still be alive. It's great to be the Monday Morning Quarterback."

At the mention of her crimes against the CSI, Bianca holds her martini in one hand, waving off the notion with the other with a small roll of her big eyes. "Meeeeeh. It's a misdemeanor. The ADA wouldn't want the heat of prosecuting the press for acting like the press. At most I'd get community service and a night in the clink. Meet some interesting people in jail."

The mention of possibly seeing a shrink has Bianca looking down into her glass. The last thing she wanted was another psychiatrist. Or even a counselor. Her last one had helped her but hadn't liked her self-destructive coping mechanisms. So to avoid those lectures she'd just stopped going to sessions.

"I've seen… certainly not worse, but just as bad. It's the kind of thing you never really get used to. Or at least I hope I don't. Takes a little piece of you with you every time. It's like you can smell it. FEEL it. On your skin, no matter how much you bathe."

The rest of the martini is downed like a trucker making a pit stop, before she leans forward to set the glass on the desk. "I'm all right. This is the job. I'm tougher than I look. I can take a lot."

"Another one?" Heather asks with a nod to the empty glass. "The bomber at the station went on about someone coming. Soon. Could have just been the ravings of a madman, probably was, but he could have meant it as a real thing. So keep your ear to the ground. You might have a chance to be there before the cops." She purses her lips in a frown. "Unless that puts you in line to be sacrificed to a bunch of loons. I don't want that happening."

A nod to the explanation of the relationship between Chen and Bianca. "It's always good to have a frenemy. Keeps you alert. Chen can be protective of her men as much as she likes, it's a good quality, unless they're corrupt shits. And I'll protect my reporters too."

A sip of her new drink. "We have no idea what would have happened if they'd gone in earlier. No benefit in theorising. That's just making up shit. It happened the way it happened. That's what we report. We don't do editorials on the news. We have editorial shows for that."

"And I know you can take a lot. It's why I hired you. You're my prize asset, Bianca, reporting wise. If you do decide you need help with anything, it's here" Heather assures the other woman. A nod to the effect of horrendous crime on the psyche; she completely understands. "Try not to spend too much time in jail. We need you on the streets. Anything else you've been working on?"

Bianca lifts up the new glass and holds it out towards her employer, wriggling it side to side, at the offer of a second drink. Never turn down alcohol. The Beez needs it. Dulls the pain, makes things easier. Helps her forget. "Hey, believe me, I don't want that happening, either. But you know me." A wink and a smile. "Anything for a story. Even if it ends in cuffs."

"I'm not trying to invent the news here. Just get the views. Doesn't hurt to ask why they didn't go in sooner. I gave Chen plenty of opportunities to answer the question herself and give me a statement, a bite, a press briefing, anything. Woman is very nearly a goddamned stone wall. If she didn't want her department looking bad, all she had to do was say some line about negotiations, safety of all involved, blah blah blah. I'd have taken anything. In the words of the Knight protecting the Holy Grail, 'She chose… poorly.'"

The new drink is taken in hand and dealt with in much the same manner as the first. Half of it is gone almost before it's in her grip. The blonde closes her eyes and swishes it around in her mouth a bit, before swallowing the fluid down with a small grimace. She opens her eyes again, looking at Heather. Then she smiles widely, lifting her free hand to gesture around at her cheeks.

"Awwww, hucks. You're making me blush." She's not blushing. "Look, I promise I'm not going to spend any more time in jail than I absolutely have to. But Chen was brickwalling me and Agent Stick-Arse was taking all her cues from her like a lost puppydog. We wouldn't have had anything more than me talking about what every other channel was talking about if I hadn't gone in. "

"I'm not going to take stupid risks." A total lie. Anything for a story. "Juuuuuuust the carefully-calculated ones."

"Oh, just one other story, though it hasn't really materialized yet. FBI Agent, of the non-special variety, apparently, Olivia Lopez. Claimed she was just there to 'introduce herself to the locals'. The FBI doesn't send agents out at rando, so unless someone at the field office up in Denver was just trying to get rid of her, she's here for a reason."

"And that reason means federal crime. And federal crime typically means, interstate. And interstate is usually organized. Oooooone more piece falling into place that SOME kind of organized crime is happening here. Still no clue who or what or why."

Heather nods along to Bianca's comments on Chen. "Yeah, sounds like she's a bit too much on the defensive. Hiding something. Embarrassed about something." A snort of amusement for the quote. "Agent? The F.B.I. are in town? That /is/ interesting."

The boss is thinking on this new information. "Is this Agent Lopez working from the station? Any contacts in Denver you could ask about her? Even if she is an organized crime 'specialist'…or something else. I'll look into it too." She scribbles down the agent’s name on one of those papers she signed. "So, we have organized crime and murder sprees. Oh…and someone trying to kill people who go to Halloween carnivals. This place never seemed so bad before I left. I guess, if nothing else, we have plenty to keep us busy."

"I'd say more 'bad experiences'. She doesn't trust reporters, for whatever reason. Not that it matters. There's easier way to get leaks than going through our dear Chief of Police. Some of the uniforms can be quite chatty. You know men. They just want to feel important. And what's more important than a man with a secret?"

The blonde polishes off her drink with the usual panache, before leaning forward to set it on the desk once more. "I have contacts. Whether or not they'll return my phone calls… we'll see! I'll reach out to some people, see if I still have some favors to cash in. If nothing else, I can always turn on the ol' charm. Hard to get 'em with a smile through the phone, though…"

"Oh. Awesome. Halloween murders." Bianca groans and forces herself up out of the chair, standing on her tiptoes in her sneaks to stretch her legs as she does so. "Just what this place needed. That doesn't creep me out at all. You know, I thought this town would be quiet. Kind of dreaded it, really. Now I'm kind of wishing things would calm the Hell down!"

"I'm buying an alarm system for my shithole apartment. Last thing I need is to get axe-murdered in my sleep."

As she leans over to pick up her purse, the reporter is sliding her big Aviator sunglasses back onto her nose and flashing a wicked parting smile. "You owe me a spanking and, much more importantly, a promotion! Ciao!"

And just as mysteriously (noisy) as she came, she was gone, leaving naught but a drained martini glass as evidence of her passing…

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