The reports that the Captain had gotten from the gate of Ta-Koro were gutwrenching.
Tuara Drigton, just hours after departing Guard headquarters having accidentally left both Angel and Jaller very different - and very crucial - nuggets of info, had mounted an ill-fated flight from Ta-Koro with a hostage, physically assaulting him and threatening his person before being detained. Said detainment may not have even been successful had it not been for the arrival of his old friend Agni, his traveling companion Merror...and Dorian Shaddix, of all the people in the world, whose first act upon returning from Ta-Koro (without Joske?) had been to hold the Akiri hostage and threaten his life in an effort to make his lover back down.
Angel wasn't sure which of the myriad implications in the situational report he found the most unsettling. It made him want plantain chips.
"When did they arrive at Headquarters?"
"Fifteen minutes ago, sir." His assistant was looking at him oddly. Cyare was a Ko-Toa refugee who had fled her home and a beat job as a Sanctum Guardsman to find help in Ta-Koro. She had risen fast through the ranks for her loyalty, honor, and determination to seize her home back, and Angel liked her well enough; she was a plump, friendly girl who had a good eye for case files and could be counted on for different perspectives when necessary. She just needed a confidence boost - a necessity that Angel had accidentally reinforced after the amount of weeks it took him to notice that the same person was handing him forms and case files regularly. "Akiri Jaller has directed Depu--Miss Drigton to Interrogation Room 4, and her prisoner--"
"Accomplice." Assuming, of course, that it was this mysterious Kitea she was leaving with. Besides, of all the things he'd heard of Tuara's behavior during the standoff, breaking her own partner's shoulder in a pinch sounded the most like her. It would have brought a wan smile to the young Captain of the Guard's face in most other circumstances.
"--of course, sir. In Interrogation Room 7. The Akiri, Detective Agni, Commander Loren, Toa Merror, and...the consultant are in Conference Room 1. Are you heading down?"
"Yeah. I want to be in the loop on this." He'd clenched one fist hard underneath his desk, and his once-naive blue eyes, even by their current-day standards, had grown stormy. "You can have the afternoon off, Cyare."
"With respect, Captain, I am assigned--"
"You don't want to be here for this. This has a lot of potential to get ugly." Angel left it at that and stood up, with only a wayward look at Cyare and then the sword still hanging on the wall behind him. He hoped she got his meaning. The Captain was well-respected by the Guard for his achievements - rising from an unkempt, goofy jungle dweller turned guide to an accomplished Mark Bearer hunter to one of the commanders at the successful defense at Kini-Nui - but his unluckiness in love was similarly fabled. With Kino Iho's murder still unsolved, the prospect of Tuara incarcerated - especially on charges as serious as these - was clearly bothering Angel.
"Now get outta here. I'll see you in the morning." He dismissed his reluctant assistant with a nod and made his way down to the conference room. The mood there was nothing less than morose.
Jaller and Loren, standing together at the front of the room, received a single fraternal salute. They were his superior and colleague, respectively, and he was in regular enough contact with them that they didn't require any special greeting. He'd never met Toa Merror, the only man seated at the conference table, but knew him by reputation; a renowned Toa on his own merits, his association with the heroic Toa Joske and service with a few of the Aggressors meant that he and the Captain ran in most of the same circles. Angelus gave him a respectful nod. Agni, standing by the door, was a personal friend and mentor who had traveled with Angel during Joske's journey and had helped him assert himself as a fledgling Captain of the Guard. The veteran Toa of Fire received a fistbump and a warm clap on the shoulder. Angel's eyes, wary from years of hunting predators of all stripes, started searching the room for the most infuriating prey of his life.
The sight of Dorian Shaddix, laying kicked back on the couch and staring up at the ceiling with unblinking eyes, had none of the schadenfreude he had hoped for at the humbled sight of the Toa of Iron. He looked as though his soul had just been collected on. Angel remembered grimly, with the faint stirrings of old jealousy, that he hadn't been the only person in this room that had loved Tuara Drigton, and it moved him to speak.
The Toa of Iron's head rolled to the right slightly to take in the Captain of the Guard. He looked as though he had reneged on his sleep cycle for weeks - and was now torn between the hellish choice to keep himself awake and miserable, or rest and risk whatever his subconscious had in store for him.
"Hey," the assassin said simply. Angel waited a couple seconds for a hammer of a punchline that never fell.
The sight of the assassin, even sapped of his usual strength and charisma, was oddly comforting; on the one hand, there was nothing more Angel wanted to do than lay into him, cruelly remind him that Dorian had sworn an oath to him personally to bring Tuara back from her demons the way he swore up and down he had brought himself back. On the other, it was both unfair and unnecessary; Tuara had enough demons to crush any man even without the weight of his own, and to take one look at Dorian was to see that the incident had genuinely affected him. It was comforting to know that everyone in this room, either an old Guard colleague of Tuara's or a traveling companion of her's and Joske's, had nothing but her best interest at heart.
Although, that reminded him...
"You have an assignment to be on," he reminded the Toa of Iron. "Where's your supervisor?"
Dorian looked back to the ceiling, betraying none of his thoughts. Angel heaved a deep breath; it wouldn't be the first time that Joske had driven someone away, or that Dorian had flaked out on a job because of dissatisfaction with his own treatment.
"Tuara had a guy with her," the Toa of Iron diverted. "We've all been spitballing since we got here, but you know Tuara - she couldn't make a new friend out of a teddy bear unless it had a shot glass in its stuffing. Jaller says she talked to you first. Any ideas?"
Angel weighed that for a second.
"She said a name," the Toa of Fire remembered. "She walked into my office drunk, rambling about anything that came to her mind. Then she stormed out within a couple minutes, and the next day she went to see the Akir--"
"Jungle boy." Dor's face scrunched in impatience. "Name?"
Angel scowled at him slightly.
Dorian, dead to the world moments before, lurched up in his seat.