Chen and Nyssa's Lunch Meeting
Los Angeles, Philly Cheese Steak Shop. Interaction: @Meleck @Damo021
The Honorable Mayor Chen sat in the chair of his office going through the pile of mail, notes, and phone calls that had piled up on his desk. It was the usual stuff, get-well wishes, drop-dead wishes, and notes from former officials he had met and even friends, asking him to change his mind about being a sanctuary city. Then there was the standard Mayoral business to attend to. Part of the city had been destroyed and needed to be dealt with.
Bubba sat in a leather chair away from the window with a graduate-level chemistry textbook on Quantum Chemistry. Lost in thought and doing something with his hands.
Chen shook his head and smiled. Bubba was normally reading his Bible. This was something new.
Towards the bottom of the pile, there was a message from Ms. Nyssa Devout. He picked up the office phone and dialed the number listed. He reached Ms. Devout’s assistant and made arrangements to meet with her at Buster's, a hot sandwich restaurant that made “real” Philly Cheese Steak that was the best in San Francisco. He picked 1 pm as the lunch rush would be over and it would give them time to talk.
Nyssa was in her office overlooking the makeshift camp she had set up not so long ago, just thinking that felt off as it felt like a lifetime ago since setting it up, people had come and gone, thanking her and many of the volunteers that offered to stay and help keep things running. Of course, most of the displaced people remained, having nowhere to go and refusing to leave San Francisco, their home. She would of course do the rounds, believing it was the human thing to do, making an appearance, speaking to survivors face to face, giving them time and assurances. hell, she even carried a little boy around who got separated from his parents in the camp and helped him find them, they were very thankful.
Her assistant had informed her that Mayor Chen had got back to her and arranged a meeting between herself and him, it was not very often Nyssa had the time to meet with mayors or the like so this meeting would intrigue her no doubt, after all the last 24 hours for the man was probably terrifying, to say the least after declaring San Francisco a sanctuary for altered. It was a crazy move but one she very much respected. So it was a chance to meet him and discuss issues within the city and see if there was a way for Astraea to increase its presence and help out more than just a camp on its own private property.
The meeting place was… different but in a way that made sense, a small sandwich restaurant on the corner, just after the lunch rush, and of course should give them some privacy while they discussed a myriad of topics. Nyssa had called up Micheal, her driver to do the usual, dodge remaining roadblocks that refused to leave the city, and had her security detail follow in the second armored escalade. She wanted to get there just a little bit early. She would have Michael wait outside in the SUV while Graham and James also waited in the second SUV to keep a lookout. Vincent and Thea entered the restaurant just before Nyssa did and sat in different places, to overlook the meeting just in case. You never know who might try something stupid, Picking a seat Nyssa held of ordering anything until Chen arrived.
Chen arrived and was happy to find the handicapped parking spot outside the restaurant was free. Bubba slid into the spot like a lineman about to sack the quarterback. In a matter of a moment, Chen was on his way into the restaurant. He noticed Nyssa from the description that her secretary gave him.
A couple pushes on the rims of the wheels of his wheelchair and waved to the restaurant staff and then he was near the table. They had started his usual, a Philly Cheese, double the meat, hold the green peppers, add the garlic and extra cheese, and a Coke to drink. After lunch will be the lecture from Bubba about trying to eat right and the fact he did not need all those calories.
“Ms. Nyssa?” He said in a pleasant tone. As she looks at him he makes a polished and practiced comment, “I know it is rude, but forgive me for not standing to greet you.” Chen had become a politician and he wanted to deal with the elephant that was always in the room with him before things progressed. It was not she was expecting him to take her out on a dance floor. Still, the chair made many people uncomfortable, and they did not spend 18 hours stuck in one.
“I have been hearing you and your people are doing a nice job of taking care of people at the camp,” he said, letting her know that he was paying attention to things.
Nyssa had noticed when Chen had made his way over to her and immediately the young lady pleasantly smiled at him as he came to the table. “It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Mayor,” Nyssa replied before getting out of her seat, she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek while shaking his hand before she would go and sit back down as a waitress had come over to take an order from her, it was nothing too crazy, however, she ordered a grilled cheese dog and a diet coke and let them leave to sort out the orders. “There is nothing to forgive, It is the thought that counts. But how are you doing Sir? I saw the news on what happened to you.” She replied brushing a few strands of hair over her ear.
Chen smiled a bit. “It is not my first time being shot. It hurts all the same.” He left the like hell out of his statement.
“Thank you, I must admit it is not easy, but I feel that I had to do something when one is in a position to help all those in need and Astraea is in a position to do that. Although I never imagined that I would be setting up a prefab camp to help FEMA in our own backyard.” Nyssa paused for a moment. “I should probably say sorry for not consulting you sooner, even if on private property, I kind of just dumped a massive camp within your city without even thinking of asking.”
Chen waved a dismissive hand to that. The aid was needed and the issue of usage would be settled when things settled down. He would send FEMA the bill.
“If you like and if you have the time with everything going on, I would love to invite you over to see the camp, see the work going on, to be fair I have to thank those that volunteered to stay and help, we are fortunate to have some police and ambulance services stationed there after the loss of the hospital, their expertise is invaluable.”
“With 8 hospitals in the city, we should be able to set up a rotation to help. Maybe even get one of the Naval Mercy Ships to aid with some of those services,” he said. Ten minutes away was a military base with enough search and rescue teams and equipment to handle a lot of injuries. There were still walking wounded.
“I think that would help camps and the injured significantly. We could pick up the slack with minor injuries and those displaced. It should allow the remaining hospitals to concentrate on the more serious and life-threatening injuries. Hopefully, it would help each other to alleviate pressure on both sides.” Nyssa would reply, it was a sound plan and one that could all be within San Francisco.
From the corner of his eye, he noticed a flag flying at full staff. “Bubba, could you go have them lower the flag to half staff,” he asked. He had issued the order to honor the dead. 1 day for each person meant they would remember for a long time.
He turned back, “I would love to come to visit the camp. Is there something that is needed at the camp? I can try to pull some strings with the Governor,” he said.
He doubted that he would get any Federal Resources. His city had more people than some East Coast states. He put on a smile that was genuine. He cared about his people and wanted to protect them. To be honest, the Enhanced scared him, but he trusted that not everyone was evil. He might be a former cop and he could be cynical about people and their choices.
Nyssa thought for a moment while seeing the flag be put to half-mast, it would be something she would reflect on again later, so much loss of life when the humanitarian aid division was set up within Astraea, it was supposed to help more troubled regions around the world, the storm changed all of that. “Besides keeping the water running and the power on? The downside to us going out and using prefab homes is being connected to the power and water grids. Without that, they would be glorified tents.”
Again Nyssa paused, what she was about to come out with was probably the most obvious problem, Astraea is a corporation, not FEMA. “I guess the biggest issue supplies, the checkpoints cause delays to much-needed provisions, we are using more than we can get in, and after your announcement yesterday, It was correct to assume that all entrances and exits will be blocked around the city. Forrester is no doubt throwing massive fits right now.” That last part did get her to smile slyly.
“I was wondering also if there was anything we could do for you, Mr. Mayor? While we have been neutral thus far, we have fully capable private security resources in the city. Our facility where we set up camp was originally a major security hub, one of two within California. Maybe we can help alleviate the pressure on local law enforcement, or beef up security in critical areas?”
“With about half the police force dead or injured, we need help. But we have to be careful not to do it in a way that does not look like the officials are giving away their authority. I am sure that the Chief could be persuaded to deputize some of your security forces if they came from military or law enforcement backgrounds,” he said as the food arrived.
“Two things that might work to help with the border problems. First, we are mostly surrounded by water and we have a deep harbor, so cargo ships could dock here if needed. Second, we have areas where helicopters can bring cargo in and out of the city. We should have the lights and power back on for most of the city in the next day or so. A week or so for the water and sewer.”
“Homes, stores, barricades, work for people to do,” the mayor said.
He stopped for a moment. “There is something we really need,” he said, putting the sandwich down. “A way to have secure communication and some drone or satellite coverage so we can see what is going on,” he continued.
Nyssa carefully listened to the mayor when her food and drink were set down, she smiled at the waitress and mouthed a thankyou before putting her attention back to the man sitting in front of her. “Hmmm should be easy enough, Majority of the men and women working in our security sector are ex-law enforcement or military. They wouldn’t step over boundaries, although equipped similarly to police, they are for all intents and purposes, private security. We could provide security for areas to free up police to do their jobs and be more flexible, I would never dream of replacing them.”
She was relieved to hear power and water could be back on soon, it should help her camp provide more of the basic needs of the people in its care. The prefab homes were all hooked up to the grid etc… so once power and water were back on they would have access to it and provide far better than FEMA camps. The border issues also made sense, ships and helicopters can still come in and she made a mental note to report that back, it would make Astraea more flexible instead of just relying on trucks for deliveries. It was the last thing that the mayor mentioned that had Nyssa stop altogether for a moment.
Nyssa cleared her throat. “I must admit I didn't foresee this kind of request. Unfortunately, I can’t grant that kind of request, I am only the head of private security and humanitarian aid, for the time being, My father is the one I would have to forward your request to. Although I personally couldn’t see an issue with secure communications and surveillance packages, Ultimately I can not make that decision. But I promise to put your request forward.” Nyssa went back to her meal, honestly, she wished she could make the decision, she wanted to do more, for more reasons than one but until she was in charge of the whole corporation, for Military matters she still had to go through her father, however, if such actions were to be taken Astraea wouldn’t be fully neutral anymore, the discussions continued while they ate their meal.
Chen was as charming as he could be. He knew he was going to need aid. He also knew there would be a cost associated with asking. The world was an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.”